Streaming is the new mainstream

One persistent thread I refer to in my workshops on personal branding is the decline of appointment-based content consumption vs. on-demand content consumption (and how it affects content consumption in general and how we, as individuals, can take advantage of this evolution to build our personal brands).

Traditionally, mainstream media thrived because of appointment-based content consumption.

Years ago, we were drilled into our minds that morning means coffee/TV + newspaper, to get a quick worldview. Now, most people don’t even subscribe to a print newspaper at home. Even on the internet – they don’t even go to a news website by name/recall – when they want to know what’s happening, they go their timelines on social media platforms… which has people like them sharing news, among other things (which may include links from mainstream media).

TV was the bastion of appointment-based consumption. We planned our life and everyday activities around what we wanted to watch on TV, and made time for it. This included news shows (Friday night’s The World This Week, long ago… to TV serials in myriad languages these days).

The one big exception to appointment-based content consumption is live events, including live sports. It’s one of the few things that you cannot demand when you want, and still need to fix your life around when it is happening. But even here, given broader internet access, we can indulge in live content wherever we are, instead of reaching a place where it is showing on TV.

Last night, on a flight from Mumbai to Bengaluru, quite a few people were glued to IPL matches live on Hotstar before the flight took off and after the flight landed!

The internet and OTT have started to demolish appointment-based content consumption. The last time TRAI spoke about the new cable TV tariff regime, it noted that India has 170 million Television homes.

Here is Hotstar showcasing numbers as a way to convince brands to advertise:

IPL started on April 7, 2018.
1. April 9: 42 million viewers (on the first 2 days), 4 million simultaneous viewers.
2. April 12 (on the first 5 days): 70 million viewers, 5.5 million simultaneous viewers.
3. May 24: 190 million viewers (full IPL 2018), 8.26 million simultaneous viewers.

IPL started on March 23, 2019.
March 27: 135 million viewers on the first 3 days!

Not only have the numbers doubled, but they are inching closer to the 170 million Television homes as well, in the first 3 days! On-demand streaming is definitely the new mainstream indeed, at least for live content. For non-live content, it’s just a matter of quality of content when it can reach Television numbers.

Also notice: the first 2 advertisements by Hotstar in 2018 had a strong pitch (using the numbers) for advertisers and brands, enticing them to utilise the audience for brand building. In 2019, it’s just the big number – I guess those numbers can do the talking themselves without the need of an explicit pitch!

Or, an explicit pitch, if at all needed, will be made in the next couple of days – I don’t know 🙂

Update – March 28, 2019:

Star TV released this ad the next day. The numbers are obviously bigger than streaming, but the gap between them is steadily decreasing!

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