Are OTT Platforms The New ‘Playground’ For Communicators?

“The companies that best understand how they interact with customers mostly operate in the pure-play digital space.”

4 min read
Image used for representational purposes. 

Earlier in 2020, I eavesdropped on an interesting conversation amongst the children at my kid’s school during their dispersal. The topic being discussed was the marvels of technology where each person could, by the mere click of button, sign up for services or apps on smartphones and TVs and enjoy their offerings anytime, through universal internet access at their fingertips.

Today, the cable provider has become the provider of high-speed internet connection whereas the individual has become the controller of the content they want to consume. Television channels in the urban setting have become what our grandparents watch, hence they may be passé in a certain sense.

As OTT (Over The Top) transforms content distribution and communication, the question that crops up is: what happens when business/brand communication decide to go the “over the top” way?

Does transcending traditional media provide brands with the opportunity to maximise ownership of consumer touch points to deliver content, experiences, and products?

Does it help them build a more direct and longer relationship with the consumers which would subsequently create sustainable value? Perhaps the most important question of all is — are brands and consumers really ready for it?

It is perhaps still very early days for OTT communication, but we can already see distinct patterns of principles emerging. The companies that best understand how they interact with customers mostly operate in the pure-play digital space.

Therefore, the pertinent question to ask ourselves as communicators is — would the scope of our communication also not evolve dramatically?

It would increase the necessity to look beyond traditional media and incorporate in our strategy the scope of consumer interaction as well. The good news is, OTT platforms already provide the stage to enable targeting viewers basis their profiles and viewing habits that provide brands unique insights into the consumption patterns and help to build a strong relationship.

This new media platform offers a huge window of opportunity, for content that is hyper-localised, personalised and relevant. As we step into a new era of the post pandemic world with trends created by it, let’s look at what, how, where and when it is that the consumer of the content wants — because at the end of the day, that will drive our focus.


Personalisation Of Content

The consumer of content on OTT platforms is highly individualistic. Thus, the traditional methods of ‘carpet bombing’ to drive mass messages will evolve, both in terms of thought and delivery of content.

We can already see this happening through interactive engagements and letting consumers decide to a certain extent, thus proving a feeling of control, on the way forward in shaping stories.

Focal Point Of Content: Language — From Local To Hyperlocal

The market for regional language content – especially in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages — is growing twice as fast as that for English. As communicators we need to invest and target exclusive, original content creators in regional languages who capture and reflect the nuances of the culture they are catering to. At the same time, technology has helped us transcend borders. OTT platforms have thrown content accessibility wide open to global audiences and are getting better every day at ‘glocalisation’. This starts to make sense when you want to communicate to the Global India in their language.


Keeping It Real

Consumers want content to be easy to understand. OTTs are adopting innovative strategies for content-creation through real-time dynamic testing and consumer feedback. As communicators, the onus is on us to successfully engage with this real time information and synergise on both sides of the coin — building deeper connections and stronger affinities.

Indian OTT platforms have taken the big leap to grab a slice of the global viewer pie. More futuristic tech will make it even easier to create and distribute content. How we leverage this information and knowledge will rest upon us.

‘Interaction’ Is The Name Of The Game

OTT platforms have the unique ability to offer various interactive elements in the user interface by taking hyper-personalisation to the next level. We’re sure to see far more innovative formats, consumer-driven twists to the stories we tell. This will push content creators to be agile in their ideation and engaging with delivery.

Unquestionably, this is the dawn of a new era in the communications industry. As communicators we will need to optimise our business models and strategies, increasingly focusing on driving efficiencies through collaborations and alliances across these new value chains.

Like the general rule in life, the key is to strike a balance — balance between the traditional and the newly-evolving methods to message delivery.

(Arpan Basu is Director, Communications, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia.This is an opinion piece. The views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

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