I'm original - so I want original
CEO and Founder Chairman
UTV Group's CEO and Founder chairman Ronnie Screwvala sheds light on the kind of content that will work for 3G networks.
2011 is going to be an interesting year for entertainment as companies work out plans to design content for the 3G space. While content makers are making tall claims in this space by just redoing existing content, from Films, TV and other Video formats, for mobile consumption - I believe that's very short sighted and Blinkered! Original content specially designed for the mobile keeping in mind the consumers 'snacking' habits is they key to cracking the DNA code for 3G. Entertainment play on 3G would be governed by four key factors: personalization - this device is mine and I do what I want on it; interactivity - the only screen that allows me to be a part of and even change the content offering; location based - it's the screen on the move so where I am moving matters; community - when I'm being entertained I'd love to be connected with my friends and others who share my passions.
It's not what I also get to see on theaters or my TV screen that will lure me to adopt 3G - we need to go back to the drawing board and come up with something new. Our observation is that consumption will come from the following: aggregated content may be 10 - 15%, massively repurposed content will be 35% - and by this I mean leveraging an existing brand like a film or a TV show to create something for the mobile and the rest will flow from original content and that alone. However content on 3G space will be very different from the content we deliver on a big screen or on TV. Today people perceive content essentially to be moving video, 3G will redefine this. It could be apps, video chats, destination services, a product and lots more.
Now that people have invested more than a couple of billion dollars in this space, bandwidth has been cleared and all telcos have got timelines so the dynamics of an equitable revenue share model will evolve over time. I believe they have already improved. It is imperative to bear in mind that whenever we are disseminating content on any other platform there is a substantial cost either of distribution or marketing or even both. In the beginning I see more telcos going for exclusive deals with content providers as it will be the content that will be the big hook for bringing people onto 3G. However if the content is compelling - which is what we are working at - I don't see that scenario for more than a year, the consumer demand will make it cross operator.
This medium is a cracker as we are used to paying for it since day one and the payment mechanism is well established and transparent too. Most of us have been paying a meager sum for our cable connection, an average of Rs. 100 for 400 channels in a month and at no cost are we willing to pay anything extra there. At the same time, we are ok to pay an average of Rs. 30 to download a ringtone for a month. So this medium offers an excellent opportunity for subscription revenue rather than just being dependent on advertisers.
The concerns most people voice today is that while the mobile universe in India is really large most consumers would not have high end phones to enable 3G and my response on that would be that the adoption ratios in India for new phones has been phenomenal and even if we take 5% of the 600 million mobile user base as ones with 3G enables phones that chunk would be larger than the total mobile population of many countries.
Lets be the clear of the opportunity. Unfortunately lack of regulation in Cable TV has allowed the consumer to pay much less than what they need to for their 400 odd channels broadcasting per se has been suppressed from its true potential. 3G and soon thereafter 4G will reap huge benefits as the spend habit will start right and start from day one and the consumer will pay more. So in short Consumer spend for Content on 3G and 4G will be as large in just 3-4 years what the Broadcasting industry took 20 years to do.
At this moment we are gearing up with lots of variety of content to offer consumers multiple options to choose from and then take a pick on what's really working. The opportunity is immense and the time is now... to change the way the entertainment is consumed in India!