“Entry of international players has ratified the robustness of the subscription-led model for OTT players” – Mr. Abhesh Verma, COO, nexGTv

Image Courtesy: www.itvoice.in

Digital content consumption being the norm today, it is no surprise that India has fast become hot-spot for over-the-top (OTT) services. Front-lining the game is ’NexGTv’ with 25million+ users, 155 premium channels in offering, and shows like ’SPOTLight’ with ace Director Imtiaz Ali, effectively maintaining the buzz. However, a game is no game without some competition. Where local digital channels like Hotstar, Ditto TV, Sony Liv, and Eros Now continue to give tough competition by constantly renewing their model, entrance of international giant like ’Netflix’ has definitely changed the game plan. So, what does it entails for Indian viewers? ACTFAQs connects with Mr. Abhesh Verma, COO, nexGTv to get an insight on the ever-evolving dynamics of digital world, shift of nexGTv from content aggregators to content creators,demand for original content and more. Excerpts.

NexGTv is shifting its focus from being content aggregators to content creators, what kind of original content could audience anticipate and how different is it going to be from interchangeable soaps and inspired reality shows that is currently dominating the entertainment space?

From a consumer and market perspective, the sweeping digital revolution has made it possible for Indians to access and consume a variety of content across genres on a range of digital destinations. Growing broadband penetration and smartphone adoption has spawned a desire to connect and share our lives with friends, colleagues, and even the community at large using video, which is rapidly becoming the preferred mode of content consumption on digital devices. On one hand, while today’s internet drivers or screenagers between 18-35 years are busy foraging online for new and innovative content, licensing rights for quality content have become almost prohibitive, seeding a definite shift towards creation and availability of hi-quality, original and relevant content.

In light of the emerging scenario, our shift from Content Aggregators to Content Creators was logical. In fact, nexGTv pre-empted this industry shift prior to any other player, owing to insights we mined from our huge database of 25million+ users. It is these insights that led us to commission the creation of India’s first mobi-serials with a leading Bollywood celebrity together with Fluence and Endemol, who has produced other market leading formats such as Bigg Boss.

Having been bombarded by the run-of-the-mill soaps and reality shows for the better part of their lives, the Indian viewer is now looking for relevant content that one can relate to. The rise of several digital channels, which veer away from stereotypes, bears testimony to the transition. In our case, original content is being created from a ’mobile-first’ perspective, keeping in mind the platform’s target audience and viewing habits. With more and more premium video content being created by independent creators, we can perhaps look forward to a new era of user-oriented digital entertainment spanning genres such as fiction, education, humor, drama, horror, satire, fashion and lifestyle etc.

With international players like Amazon Prime and Netflix planning to explore the lucrative Indian market, how is NexGTv planning to maintain its lead in the game?

Entry of new players not only ratifies our presence, but also our business model in this domain. Our rich experience of the last 5 years in this domain provides us with a slew of insights about ours and the typical Indian consumers. Not only do we plan to further strengthen our content mix with the addition of premium, hi-quality programming, but also expand our market footprint beyond operator alliances to cover retail and e-tail shopping segments using extended validity entertainment packs of 3 / 6 / 12-month duration, akin to re-charge coupons. We are also improving our content discovery platform as well as our billing and payment alliances to ensure easier and better availability of our offerings to customers.

Recently, we also launched a unique mobile talent discovery platform SPOTLight, jointly with ace director and master storyteller Mr. Imtiaz Ali, which invites amateur as well as professional video content creators to grab a camera and share their story using short videos, giving them an opportunity to not just earn money, basis views, but to also give them a chance to win the top prize of Rs.100, 000 every month.

With majority of content on NexGTv working on freemium model, what is the consumption rate for subscribed content?

A significant proportion of content (almost 80+ Live TV channels) on nexGTv is available free-of-charge to viewers with the rest of it residing behind a paywall. Subscribers have to pay a nominal rate of Rs.125 per month to enjoy seamless access to nexGTv’s entire content catalogue of over 150+ Live TV channels, 1000+ movies as well as hundreds of TV shows and Videos-on-Demand content.

The value proposition for a customer becomes incredibly powerful if one opts for a limited-period offer of an annual pack, which gives access to the entire catalogue at an incredible price of Rs.749 only or Rs.2/day. Close to 1.5 million consumers visit nexGTv every month.

 

Live streaming service is still in its nascent stage in India, what strategy are you going to apply to penetrate the market segment that prefers piracy over paying for view?

Despite its ’nascent’ stage, nexGTV, operating on a subscription-led platform sees little or no reason to believe that the Indian consumer does not appreciate or isn’t willing to pay for quality content. The difference lies not in the ’intent-to-pay’ but in the ’value’ equation.

Indians are known to be value conscious and that defines what they pay for and how much and on which platform. As mentioned earlier, we get close to 1.5 million unique consumers every month on our platform and that figure is expected to increase as the subscription-led (SVOD) business model starts to gain traction industrywide.

What marketing strategies will be applied to promote new original content on NexGTv? And how many advertisers have come on board for the new projects?

The launch is around the corner and a number of initiatives are planned for generating buzz around the launch of our first original programming series. However, as the content is meant for mobile-first audience, most of the initiatives will be targeted and hence digitally-led, enabling us to reach segment and monitor response. Advertisers and media agencies have also shown tremendous interest in the concept as it is extremely contemporary and meaningful for today’s generation, reflecting their interests and attitudes, together with a leading Bollywood celebrity.

Tell us about your new show ’SPOTLight’ with filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, how is it set to change game plan for aspiring directors?

SPOTLight, which has recently been launched in partnership with Imtiaz Ali, is a unique mobile-led talent discovery initiative meant to bring fresh creative geniuses into the public eye. Aspiring directors and content creators will be able to test their mettle through this initiative and have a chance to get their creations judged every month by ace storyteller and master director Mr. Imtiaz Ali.

The platform is also unique as it not only allows all contributors to earn from their creations via the views garnered on the nexGTv App, but also enables the Top 5 most-viewed videos every month to compete for the grand prize of Rs.100,000 from Imtiaz Ali.

 

Other than the prize money of 1 lakh, what other opportunities will the winner be entitled to showcase their talent?

The financial equation aside, the biggest benefit of ’SPOTLight’ is definitely the amount of exposure that a content creator could gain on nexGTv. The platform provides one with an unparalleled opportunity to bring one’s creation in front of million-plus Indians on the platform every month, aside from the gains of it being shared socially and perhaps helping it go viral. Getting featured in the Top 5 videos of the month for a selection, by none other than,Imitiaz can be dream come true for any budding director/ content creator. However, we intend to gratify another also-ran or thenearest front-runner to the winner and part fundsfor his/her subsequent video production.

Tell us about your recent collaboration with Fluence (Digital Celebrity Management Company) to create celebrity-led mobile series, what kind of content can viewers’ look forward to?

Fluence is CA Media Digital’s celebrity digital network and manages social media presence, digital endorsements, online and mobile monetization in the digital space of numerous Bollywood celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh etc. Fluence has been commissioned by nexGTv to create and produce nexGTv’s first premium, original series, also India’s first mobi-serial around a contemporary and meaningful concept which reflects the interests and attitudes of today’s generation, together with a leading Bollywood celebrity.

What new trend are you anticipating in digital media consumption and where does NexGTv stand in this ever-evolving live entertainment scene?

Digital media consumption, especially on mobile devices, is growing by leaps and bounds not just in India, but globally. Slowly but gradually, mobile screens are becoming not the ’only screen’ but the ’preferred screen’ for consuming content with video driving data consumption on networks.

Entry of international players has ratified the robustness of the subscription-led model for OTT players, which should gain further traction across the industry. In terms of video watching and streaming, mobile apps are becoming the engagement hubs for customers and consumption of long-form content is on the rise, slowly but gradually, across platforms. Digital snacking and social sharing of video content is gathering momentum and more and more consumers spend time looking for innovative, cutting edge and unconventional content across digital platforms, accelerating creation of premium, original content.

With large amount of content available online, it is becoming important for content players such as nexGTv to invest in further enhancing UI / UX in order to help facilitate discovery of content and recommend/ promote specific content.

Together with planning the launch of nexGTv’s first initiative in original programming around the corner, we’re also engaged in expanding our customer footprint across retail and e-tail segments as well as exploring alliances to enhance reach, visibility and recall.

What is next for NexGTv?

It is an exciting and perhaps the right time to be in the OTT industry. There are just so many possibilities for growth and despite multiple players there is enough room for everyone. We intend to not only expand the proportion of premium content on our platform, but also ensure we leverage the insights gleaned from our 25 million plus users to create new offerings and fine-tune the appeal and adoption of existing ones. There are a range of surprises in store as we enter 2016. Stay tuned at www.nexgtv.com

 

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