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How content consumption has evolved during the Covid-19 pandemic


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Triggered by Covid 19, India has become the world’s fastest-growing OTT market

By Rajeev Singh

The one where screens become the window to the world

“I’ll be there for you”, is no longer the Rembrandts’ song from F.R.I.E.N.D.S but a universal chant now. We have been grappling with the Covid-19 induced stay-at-home mandates for more than a year. From adapting to remote working models to home-schooling children, the new normal has required substantial adaptation on the part of one and all. With the outside removed from our lives, the pie of entertainment has shrunk to just the space at home.

The pandemic years are therefore when our homes got smarter as we spent the maximum time there. #StayHomeStaySafe churned the home entertainment industry in a big revolution. It was led by how we consumed content. As screens become the window to the world, they have moved from being one for all earlier to one for each now. As consumers submit to the locked-down living, home entertainment infrastructure witnessed a sales peak. With the fear of a pandemic, a lot of movie enthusiasts miss the theatre experience which is the way the creators intended them to be viewed. Thankfully, we have many forces along with access to high-end technology which plays the role of an enabler for a brilliant experience.

Demand for an enhanced visual experience

India’s demographic dividend has the purchasing power and the mindset to select quality over price. The Covid 19 imposed lockdown has rather given wings to their vision where the resources in form of time and capital should ensure optimum gratification. There is a constantly rising demand that is experienced for innovation-led devices in India.

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Consumers are specific about their demand for enhanced picture and sound quality for watching movies and TV shows. There is high interest in the immersive picture and sound experiences demonstrating that the idea of ‘Visuality’; has penetrated deep into the psyche of all young consumers. At present, visual stimuli, which is reciprocative, non-invasive, and constantly evolving, defines our world. The electronics industry globally has reported that consumers have upgraded their devices the most during the lockdown. In the TV viewing, they have just reiterated – that size does matter.

The supply of innovative content

Over The Top (OTT) has emerged as one of the biggest disruptions in India from a cultural to a technological point of view. Triggered by Covid 19, India has become the world’s fastest-growing OTT market. The latest Ernst Young, Media, and Entertainment report says that 28 million Indians, paid for 53 million streaming subscriptions in 2020. This is a mammoth 49% year-on-year growth in the digital subscription revenues.

With a dozen OTT players catering to every consumer type, the consumer is spoilt by choice. In certain instances, the consumers have utterly rebuked the much-hyped and marketed content and opted for something novel and unusual. Witnessing the soaring demand, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have increased their content investments and launches of several regional language products as vernacular is the next big market to acquire.

Evolution in Display Technology

Our homes demand multiple screens now, one for each member. The most commonplace devices at our disposal are handheld smartphones, laptops, and television. Projectors are the latest breakthrough as we now have in our access the big size image which is also soothing to the eye. In these pandemic years, the consumers have responded positively to this innovation and it is one of the fastest-growing segments globally. In the big screen tech, the finer projectors come equipped with far better contrast ratios, hence a better image quality, than most TVs of today. The latest projectors work along with the current ambient light levels and adjust to the correct brightness, offering an optimised image quality and ensuring comfort viewing for hours without straining the eye in one’s living room.

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Technology and innovation has led to affordability and democratising the way we consume content. Now we also have portable wireless projectors that can be moved around from one room to another and even outdoors. These make the immersive viewing experience more engaging and fun with the family and friends. Another big reason that projectors will be the next big thing at our homes is the softness of the image which is soothing to the eye. With the kids’ screen time extending with online learning, the projectors will bring in to routine, a well-deserved break.

Because the consumer is the king

Information technology has democratised content. TV is no more an idiot box but a window to the world. The pandemic-induced lockdown has left the viewers today to have more autonomy than ever before to influence the kind of content generated. Consumers are constructively utilising their time and investing to enrich themselves. The viewership tracked by the OTT players compels the creators to deep dive on what they are serving. We can see that Indians in the last two years have watched a new genre which we had never done before in our lives. That reflects that our search for a stirring and enriching experience will always be on. The creators have understood it well in time and will continue to captivate the consumer while continuously innovating.

The level of visual stimuli is unprecedented in history. It is ‘reciprocative’ to us, in a sense where visual stimulation boosts engagement and productivity like no other sense can. It is non-invasive, unlike any other sense, you can choose what you see; making it the most selective and prestigious of senses and mainly, it is constantly evolving, right from the manner in which we receive and transmit visual data, due to the emergence of new technologies, innovation, new forms of connectivity.

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The author is managing director, BenQ India

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