Aggregation platforms help small, niche streaming players stay afloat

NEW DELHI : A number of emerging aggregator platforms have provided respite for smaller niche streaming services struggling to stay afloat in India’s congested online video market.

Even though over-the-top video platforms have also been offered by telecom operators as a bundled service, the arrival of aggregators such as Prime Video Channels, Tata Play and Airtel XStream Premium bodes well for the reach and subscriber base of small businesses like DocuBay, Eros Now, Lionsgate Play and ShemarooMe trying to find their feet.

Several of these OTT companies said they focus on content because aggregators take care of the product and the user experience.

“There is a funnel that they (these aggregators) provide. It opens up a sub-base that if the individual platform were to continue and acquire, would have taken longer,” said Amit Dhanuka, vice- Executive Chairman of Lionsgate India.

For the value-conscious consumer, this is a low hanging fruit, but the model will co-exist with direct-to-consumer offerings, Dhanuka said.

From a telecommunications perspective, while data is the new currency, this data usage comes on the back of video, so partnering with OTTs is a natural fit and given their huge mobile consumer base, a better value proposition for the streaming platform as well. “Any aggregate offer can only work if it is win-win,” he added.

The aggregation helps both partners reach wider audiences by entering new markets, in addition to increasing revenue and engagement, said Hiren Gada, CEO of Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd, which runs the ShemarooMe streaming service showcasing old movies, web originals and devotional videos. ShemarooMe has recently expanded to Gujarati language content.

Sourjya Mohanty, chief operating officer at EPIC ON, a VoD service owned by IN10 Media Network, said the platform saw an increase of more than 35% in revenue and user growth during the covid pandemic. -19 and that the effort was to maintain the audience cohort in the national and international market.

“With millennials contributing to peak consumption with an average of four to six hours of viewing time per day, it is imperative that OTTs are part of the consolidation proposition that is the way forward for all stakeholders – streaming platforms, telcos, and other smart devices — to cajole audiences and maintain sustainable revenue and user acquisition,” said Mohanty.His business plans to expand to 10 countries, including including key African countries and others such as Iraq, Palestine and Israel.

The aggregation trend will increase due to changing consumer preferences and tough economic conditions, said Neeraj Sharma, managing director, communications, media and technology, Accenture India. “For consumers, aggregation simplifies content discovery because they can get more recommendations across all platforms on one service. They can create combined watchlists and save costs with an option to enable or disable individual OTT apps within the same subscription,” Sharma said.

For OTT platforms, bundling provides greater reach and assured revenue through the minimum guarantee. “Presence on aggregators can provide viewers with more options to discover and consume relevant content. As the additional cost of customer acquisition is high, aggregators offer OTT platforms a faster monetization opportunity at In the future, aggregators will emerge and become increasingly important as they are key to solving customer frustration with the interrupted viewing experience and helping realize the benefits of the cord-cutting vision” , added Sharma.

Bundling and aggregation have been the main reasons why linear TV has reached nearly 240 million households in India, said Ali Hussein, chief executive of streaming service Eros Now. “The next six to 12 months will see the emergence of super aggregators capable of connecting shows (across platforms) and targeting customers at scale at varying price points across the country,” Hussein said.

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