Contrary to industry perception women, small-town residents, and people over 35 years of age have significant digital influence driving their content discovery and consumption choices in India, states a joint report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Meta released on Wednesday.
The report tracks the increasing influence of digital in driving media and entertainment consumption in India across over-the-top (OTT), linear TV (LTV), and Movie Studios. Digital influence implies the role of digital in content discovery, sharing, and engagement both before and after viewing content. Titled ‘Seeing the BIG Picture - Harnessing digital to drive M&E growth’ a Meta-commissioned report by BCG was done with over 2600 consumers across 15 towns and cities.
Shweta Bajpai, director and vertical head - Media, Finserv, Travel, Real Estate and Services for Meta in India says that prevalent view presumes that consumer behaviour across small and large towns, across gender and age-groups is vastly distinct.
"While this may be true for some industries, when it comes to content consumption in India, there are more similarities than distinctions. The biggest similarity is that irrespective of where people consume content - OTT, TV or in movie theatres - they rely on digital to share, engage, and express themselves. Over 40 percent respondents discover content on digital via Word of mouth. This is a game changing insight for media companies and marketers in how they want to reach their customers," she adds.
The findings reveal that among over-the-top (OTT) video streaming watchers, after consuming the content, 78 percent of the surveyed men said that they use digital to engage with the content. This number was equally high at 77 percent for women. Similarly, before watching something on OTT, more people from smaller towns (81 percent) use digital for content discovery than people from large towns (74 percent). Moreover, contrary to popular belief, digital discovery is on the upswing, even for linear TV, with linear TV viewers increasingly seeking information and engagement online for the content they watch.
The study also showed that 60 percent consumers seek information about the content before deciding to watch. Up to 80 percent of this research occurs online across OTT, LTV, and movies. The findings further revealed that higher digital engagement is correlated with higher watch time on both LTV and OTT.
Shaveen Garg, managing director and partner BCG notes that consumers increasing time spent on digital video is well-known but what was counter intuitive is how much digital is influencing their discovery of content, decision to watch and the engagement post watching.
"It is not limited to digital native mediums but across all content as category. It is clearer than before that many media companies haven’t embraced this power to unlock potential. Content is king, no doubt, but kings also need an army of soldiers to become and reign. This digital interventions by companies is the army behind the great content.”
The study recommends that media and entertainment (M&E) companies need to evolve with the changing times. It highlights that with boundaries blurring between different formats in the consumers’ minds, M&E companies should refrain from defining themselves as LTV/OTT/Movie Studios and reimagine themselves as content creators not chained to a delivery medium.
Given the high digital influence, digital marketing could be effective across demographics, genres, and languages, and could be a crucial addition to the existing marketing efforts at every step of the consumption journey.
The report also calls for diversifying digital activations including communities, influencers, personalised reach-outs and short videos to reach all kinds of consumers. Lastly, the report advises brands to develop in-house muscle, build a content factory, leverage the user engagement flywheel, develop a robust measurement strategy and impact attribution.