How Jio changed the game for video in India

How Jio changed the game for video in India
Ben Morrell and Aathitiyan taking part in a 'Fireside Chat' moderated by Kiruba Shankar during Techspectations 2018 in Kochi.
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Kochi: Bandwidth concerns that had so bothered video content producers for years were solved with the arrival of Reliance Jio, according to Brightcove Asia vice-president Ben Morrell and HeroTalkies co-founder and director Aathitiyan V S.

They felt Jio radically changed the digital consumption in the country.

Morrell and Aathitiyan were taking part in a 'Fireside Chat' moderated by Kiruba Shankar during Techspectations 2018 in Kochi.

Morrell said that Jio had given lot of content providers the confidence that they could reach the audience they wanted to. He thinks the sudden opening up of internet access in the wake of Jio would allow content providers to find a niche audience.

"Niche content providers, like say a technology content provider, can charge more for content than content aggregators," Morrell said.

How Jio changed the game for video in India
Brightcove Asia vice-president Ben Morrell (l) with Kiruba Shankar, the CEO of Business Blogging.

Not anticipating Jio could have had Aathitiyan in trouble. "A few months before demonetisation (when Jio was introduced), I still remember having a chat with a potential investor. He wanted to launch Tamil service in India. He wantd to create hotspots where movies could be downloaded offline," Aathitiyan said. "If we had done it then, we would have looked stupid now," he said with a sigh of relief.

Aathitiyan launched HeroTalkies in 2013. "We wanted to launch subscription-based streaming services, but soon realised it was very costly. So we targeted the Tamil community living outside India," he said.

HeroTalkies offered two new movies every week to a Tamil diaspora subscriber, each of these movies would have released just two or three weeks before. It also helped that these Tamil movies were not released anywhere outside the country.

How Jio changed the game for video in India
HeroTalkies co-founder and director Aathitiyan V S.

In other words, there was demand. HeroTalkies was in operation till 2017 when it was taken over by Yup TV.

Aathitiyan feels that film producers have to shed their traditional thinking, and be more dynamic.

They have to change the rules of the game by introducing new monetisation methods, he said.

"For instance, after the first three days of theatrical run, they should think of streaming the film online on a subscription basis," he said.

It is foolish to think that all moves will run for 50 days. "Over 200 movies release in Tamil Nadu a year. I don't think a film has the space to run for more than a week in theatres," he said, arguing for new ways to monetise film production.

He said that subscription- or transaction-based film viewing would also provide a legal alternative to beat piracy. "There is demand for content and we have to give legal alternatives," Aathitiyan said.

Morrell said content providers should think of adapting content to new platforms like mobile. In the case of films, they already have a strong content. The content providers need not have to start from scratch.

"The provider has to know how people are going to consume your product. If it is on the mobile, then the product should have the capability to fit on the phone. It should not be forgotten that a consumer's attention span is less than that of a gold fish," Morrell said.

Aathitiyan said that the ideal duration of video content will depend on the platform. In the case of Facebook, he said it can be up to 2.5 minutes. "But on YouTube, I have found that even 10-15 minute content works well," he said.

The founder of HeroTalkies said Netflix would prove to be the game-changer for content creativity in the country. "This is good time for content creators in the country. Till now, they were restricted in that they could create content only for films and serials. But new age content creators are being provided new platforms by Netflix and Amazon Prime and other OTT players," Aathitiyan said.

Read more on Techspectations 2018

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