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In recent months, a large chunk population across demographics has switched to new-age OTT apps in India. With cinema halls closed and almost zero sporting events, OTT platforms have made merry of the situation by acquiring readily available users who had more free time thanks to the lockdown.

Various global and regional players in the category, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Hotstar, Zee5, and many more, have seen a growth in the number of users and paid subscriptions.

However, the various factors that contributed to the growth of OTT platforms are slowly fading away. Lockdowns are reducing, which means users will again be traveling to work and might have less to spend on OTTs. Even though it is yet to take place in India, sporting events, such as football and cricket have slowly started making it back to the center stage. Various cinema halls started preparing for their opening in a renovated format to offer a safe experience to the users.

The Challenges Ahead

According to AppsFlyer Coronavirus Marketing Updates, the organic installs of Entertainment streaming in India was 9.29% in the last week of March had dropped to 4.12% in mid of June. Total sessions during the same period dropped from 7% to 4.77%, while total revenue which was 11.04% fell to even less than half to 5.32%.

The (new) normal that users are heading towards brings a bunch of challenges for OTT apps to continue this growth of userbase and retain the existing users. Here are some of the transitions that the OTT industry is witnessing and what they can do about it.

Replace DTH Services

Direct-to-Home (DTH) services have made their way quite deep into India with penetration in tier-1 and tier-2 cities. However, they are mostly limited to television setups. OTTs, on the other hand, are compatible across devices and still have a higher penetration opportunity in tier-2 cities. Along with retention, it gives them the chance to continue their growth.

1. Acquiring New Users

OTTs can leverage OEM or third-party app store options to be more readily available across multiple trusted app stores and expand app discovery potential among active users. It also gives them a bypass to reach Android users who do not have Google accounts. Lack of digital literacy curbs users from availing access to Google Play, which has restrictions like mandatory sign-in with a Google account. However, the demand for entertainment is still high among those users.

2. Quality Focused Conversions

Attracting quality or high-value users to adopt your premium plans will ensure better engagement and retainment in the later stages. RevX runs on a multifold approach with App Intelligence and Audience Intelligence. App intelligence allows your ads to run on quality inventory exclusive for OTT platforms, while Audience Intelligence helps you build a quality audience. With our down-the-funnel payment model, you only pay for the converted users.

3. Data-led Retention

Retaining the users needs you to kill the vague spraying-and-praying advertising model and instead switch to the data-lead strategy that can target the user as per their preference of show categories, the timing of app engagement, and other such specific user behavior points. Utilizing the powerful data science algorithms available with leading Demand Side Platforms, you can target the users with on deterministic traits, including gender, affluence, and age, to suggest the best recommendation to the audience.

A focused targeting plan can do wonders for you. For example, reach a student with an ad for the show he is currently watching every evening, and reach a professional with an ad for the latest weekly release during the weekend. This will take care of your DAUs and MAUs effectively.

4. Partner with Network Service Providers

Every leading OTT platform in India is following this strategy of partnering with network service providers to offer plans. It gives you multiple benefits, including building brand awareness, acquiring new users, and then retaining them. With users being changed from their mobile usage bill instead of your app, you can continue offering services.

Replace Cinema Halls As the First Point of Movie Release

Common masses are going to take significant time to feel comfortable about going out to cinema halls. You can leverage this to your benefit by offering what cinema halls offer. The saying ‘content is the king’ remains valid across industries, including digital entertainment. With fresh entertainment featuring your platform before cinema halls, you will be able to capture the interest of existing audiences more often and keep them coming back to your app.

1. Multiple Format Support

To build interest among users for a show or movie release, there is a range of advertising formats at your service. Video trailers, banner posters, or interactive rich media formats can easily pique the interest of the users. Therefore, your advertising campaigns go beyond the traditional ad norms as you can strategically promote the content of your apps.

2. Rethink Your Pricing Plans

In a market like India, pricing is known to have a great say. While free trials and shared screen choices give you an easy shot at targeting users with higher value users who are reluctant in paying upfront. However, starting at lower pricing gives you the chance to build a habit that can be utilized later.

Offer customizable plans for the users so that they can pick plans as per their comfort level. Allowing users to choose between annual and monthly payment options along with the content-based choice (higher plan for premium shows), can keep you users entertained.

3. Deploy Meme Culture and User Generated Content

OTT apps can drive massive growth from the word of mouth marketing. Generally, the OTT audience is active on social media platforms. While recent trends have shown that a show or movie that gets popular among memes will gain popularity among viewers faster than probably any other way. You can encourage users to share their memes or even reviews for the shows that they enjoy on your app.

Along with that, leverage social media advertising as well to reach the users who have engaged in memes related to the content of your show. This will help you entice the users who are already curious to come to your platform and you can drive faster conversions.

Final Note for OTT App Marketers

COVID-19, a global health crisis, turned out completely opposite for the OTT apps. It brought an enhanced revenue flow for OTT players that help them achieve unforeseen growth – in terms of users as well as conversion. With the situation changing now and marketing becoming highly competitive, it will take a strategic approach to continue on the growth track and remain profitable.

While tier-2 and tier-3 cities in India give an opportunity for exponential growth in userbase, retaining the existing users also needs attention to every aspect, including serving them the right recommendations of shows to add new content.

If you want your OTT app to retain more customers, get in touch with our platform consultant to understand how we have helped several other OTT players to boost their DAUs and MAUs while consistently increasing conversions. You can write to us at marketing@revx.io


[1] Covid-19 to help OTT audio platforms increase revenue – Brand Equity
[2] Emerging COVID-19 Trends: Advertising of OTT platforms on television on the rise – Passionate in Marketing
[3] Coronavirus Markting Update – Appsflyer


Nishant Kadian

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