From missed calls to video calls: The monumental change in the way Indians consume content | HT Brand Leadership Series

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From missed calls to video calls: The monumental change in the way Indians consume content

  • Praveen Rao
  • Dec 27

While we all have read enough about the 10-fold reduction in data cost, proliferation of smart phone users, and growing relevance of video content, the power of videos to Entertain, Enable, and Educate will gain precedence over anything else.

Entertainment videos: A whole new ecosystem

India has become the new battleground for Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms—initially led by Hotstar and later joined by Netflix and Amazon Prime. Players such as Balaji Telefilms (ALTBalaji), Network 18 (Voot), Eros (ErosNow) and Zee (Zee5) have also joined the bandwagon.

Lately, the segmentation of OTT has started to emerge, with regional players such as Sun NXT and Viu trying to corner both regional subscribers and revenues. Simultaneously, Telecom (and Internet) Service Providers, thanks to their native user base, have either launched their own versions of OTT or struck alliance with the popular platforms to help users burn the bytes. And, if you think that the Indian OTT space is already overcrowded, wait till you see a few more niche players entering this space in 2019!

Popular platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn have also experienced a year-on-year rise in video content. Again, the silent entry of players like TikTok, Flipster, and Helo has taken Indian short video format to a new height.

Helo, which is trying to take home-grown vernacular social platforms like ShareChat head-on, is NOT available in English, but in 14 Indian regional languages. Helo has managed to get more than 20 million Indian users, with more than 2 million daily active users.

It is just not high-budget and high-quality videos that are on a growth trajectory. Vlogs, which are short videos made with phones and non-professional cameras, are now getting a fillip, thanks to witty and interesting subjects that these videos often target. Several brands have clearly started including these platforms in their media plans, as the latter not only give targeted views, but also help build engagement.
YouTube and Instagram celebrities are now in the same league as other celebrities, as the former command higher influence over their followers.

Mission Enable and Educate: The Indian EdTech saga

Unquestionably, EdTech happens to be the biggest benefactor of low-cost data and smartphone penetration in the education sector. Millions of Indians are active users of one or more EdTech platforms.

Video content will be the cornerstone to the success of EdTech platforms in a country like India for the below reasons:

  1. Roughly 500 million Indians cannot read or write properly in their native languages.
  2. Millennials prefer watching to reading.
  3. Access to video content is far more economical and seamless.
  4. Today, business-ready technical skills, such as how to repair a mobile phone or how to fix a bike, are in great demand. These can, however, be learnt with the help of videos.

Popular EdTech platforms like BYJU’s, Coursera, Udacity, and government-backed Swayam have video content which is crisp and highly interactive. Indeed, those days of uploading recordings from the classroom sessions are over. 

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will only improve the predictive capabilities of recommendation engines offered by EdTech platforms. Users will derive a far superior learning experience, enabling higher stickiness and recommendations based not only on their preferences, engagement, and learning roadmaps, but also their cognitive responses. Similarly, learning assessments will become more contextual to offer personalized and skill level-based modules.

Similarly, learning assessments will become more contextual to offer personalized and skill level-based modules.

Need to know something? Search a video that enables!

A whole new industry has come to the fore when it comes to enabling content. Starting from ‘How-to’ or DIY videos to ‘Top 10’ things or listicle videos, video platforms have given rise to several YouTube and Instagram celebrities. These new-age chefs, stylists, yoga gurus, and life coaches are often signed up by large brands to endorse their products.

Categories like travel, food, home décor and interiors, photography, fashion, and health will be benefited the most from enabler content. For the regulated sectors, such as liquor, pharmaceuticals, or financial services, enabler video content could be the much-desired route to get the aficionados without spending a bomb.

Brands that leverage enablement content tend to have an early-mover’s advantage.

Check out what Cipla managed to achieve with for its inhaler drugs. gets millions of views and engagements from those who wish to seek a one-stop-shop information-cum-aid to combat respiratory illness. Simple videos like ‘How to use the nebulizer correctly’ garnered 150K views on their YouTube channel.

Or, check out what Bacardi has managed to achieve with mixology content. Nearly 103K views of Casa Bacardi Mixology in two months speak volumes about enabler video content.

Value proposition of enablement and education video content over entertainment content

  1. Higher efficacy to boost your long-term organic search quotient.
  2. Helps you build thought leadership
  3. Can help you build sustained advocacy and discover true fans.
  4. Higher potential for virality of content within the meaningful audience.
  5. Total media cost can be relatively less, with higher return on investments.

Clearly, it’s time that brands think about how they can create videos that are not only entertaining, but also enabling and educational.

Praveen Rao
General Manager & SVP

Praveen holds more than 19 years of experience in solution sales, marketing services, and digital marketing. In his last stint with Arvato, he worked on creating India-specific marketing solutions and services. He has also worked with organizations such as Microsoft and Dun & Bradstreet India.