As India’s digital ecosystem evolves, brands are moving away from TV in favor of cheaper over-the-top (OTT) alternatives made accessible by the introduction of cut-rate mobile data plans. Shamsuddin Jasani, managing director of digital agency Isobar India, spoke with eMarketer’s David Green about how original content creators are allowing brands to weave their stories into long-form digital videos.
eMarketer: What is the most important recent change to the digital marketing landscape in India?
Jasani Shamsuddin: [Mobile carrier] Reliance Jio’s entrance has been the biggest change in the Indian market because of the resulting sharp drop in data plan prices. The internet now reaches a much larger audience.
The consumption of online content in general has really gone through the roof. In some cases, the amount of content consumed on mobile phones or through over-the-top platforms is higher than the amount of content consumed on TV.
eMarketer: Do you think Jio’s cheaper data pricing is sustainable?
Shamsuddin: The rates will not go back to the levels they were pre-Jio. But prices are unsustainable at this rate, so they will go a little higher. Jio’s also coming up with a broadband triple play offering TV, home internet and mobile internet. This will revolutionize television consumption because you can do it all through the internet.
eMarketer: This all means that consumers in India are likely to have even greater access to content from their mobile devices. Has the explosion of video changed the way content is consumed?
Shamsuddin: India is a one-TV-household market, and there are usually about four or five people in the houses watching the same television. With the explosion of data, it’s all about consumption of content that the individual likes.
On digital, you can weave in stories for different audiences. The future of advertising on these online-only platforms is content integration.
eMarketer: How are brands benefiting from this?
Shamsuddin: Content creators are platform agnostic—it could be YouTube or an OTT platform like Hotstar or Voot, which is a college-targeted platform like MTV. Skit writers ask, “This is what we see for the next six months on original content. How can we start getting brands into the stories?” Ad blockers are affecting regular video advertising; there are more questions on viewability.
eMarketer: Which languages is this content being created in?
Shamsuddin: Predominately English and Hindi. The next wave of content will be in vernaculars [local languages].