Consumer attention to content is increasingly fragmented

Unmish Parthasarathi, the Founder of Singapore-based growth practice Picture Board Partners, believes that the fragmentation of attention to content requires us to adopt remote production technologies for story-telling and a smarter use of data to redefine & revive commercial models.

Unmish Parthasarthi, Founder -Singapore-based growth practice Picture Board Partners

IBT: How has viewership evolved across the sports, gaming and edutainment segments in the past few years in the Indian market? What have been the drivers of the shift?

Unmish Parthasarathi: Consumer preferences are no longer discrete, as audiences have developed new tastes in addition to their historical preferences. Much of this has been due to the rapid adoption of mobile platforms – driven by affordable handsets and quality 4G connectivity. This is being complemented by the creation of and access to new content genres such as edutainment and gaming, more content in vernacular languages, plus UGC that is of interest to micro segments. All this has fragmented viewer attention, which makes gaining critical mass making monetisation a challenge. The fragmentation of attention requires us to adopt remote production* for story telling and use data to redefine & revive monetisation.

IBT: In what ways is the Indian market unique compared to other markets in terms of viewership habits and daily time allocated for video viewing?

Unmish Parthasarathi: India is one of the few markets in the world that is experiencing three trends simultaneously:

  • Foreign content in English is moving from PayTV to Netflix & Amazon
  • Vernacular content is experiencing explosive growth on OTT platforms
  • Interactive entertainment such as Gaming and Fantasy Sports is going mainstream

 IBT: What models carry most potential in India to monetise sports and gaming content and why? How is data playing a competitive differentiator?

Unmish Parthasarathi: I tend to divide gaming into three distinct areas – conventional consumption based on titles such as PUBG Mobile, CS:GO etc; fantasy sports like what Dream 11 has pioneered, and betting, which is grey.

All have different monetisation models, of which Fantasy has done really well and will continue. eSports as offline events are too dependent on sponsorships, but there are some good promoters who are being smart about the brand solutions – that use first party data to convert/prove attribution to purchase. So we have a lot to play for offline in 2021 and capitalise on the massive online surge during COVID-19.

IBT: How is technology expected to revolutionise user experience as well as the competitive landscape for content producers in India in the coming years?

Unmish Parthasarathi: I’m a big believer in Augmented Reality maturing during the first half of this decade, and expect a lot of innovation in the consumer space that spans/combines sports, gaming and music. I’m less bullish on Virtual Reality as it needs a far greater number of pieces (device, connection, pricing, real value propositions etc) to align on the chess board. I’m more bullish on Blockchain as it solves big problems such as fraud and attribution, combined with loyalty programmes that pre-exist.

IBT: Webinars have suddenly become a major engagement medium for brands. How successful do you feel they are in practice? And how can their effectiveness be further improved?

Unmish Parthasarathi: When we are thirsty, it’s doesn’t matter if the water is top quality or not. It serves a purpose and can only improve as we go along. I expect it to look very different by the next 24 months, not 12. The biggest add on will be Augmented Reality and AI/ML based recommendation engines that will respond and provide personalisation.

*Covid has required a lot of collaboration traditionally associated with physical (or on-premise as the technologists call it) presence today be done virtually using the cloud, a trend dubbed remote production as the team is not co-located. 

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