Anshuman Thakur, head of Strategy, Jio, said that such partnerships open up a new world of entertainment for JioFiber customers. The aim is to be present where the popular entertainment lies, given the numerous pulls and pressures on tariffs and premium plans that some telecom operators are subject to. Avneesh Khosla, director-Marketing, Vodafone Idea
said that the telecom players, through partnerships with content providers, want to make a rich repository of content available at no additional cost to customers. “It is always a demand versus supply game. We focus on the former and ensure relevant propositions are launched to entice our customers,” he added.
It is not just OTT platforms
that the telecom brands have sought out as partners, gaming companies
are on their radar too. Jio has a gaming app called Jio Games. The company is also partnering with Microsoft to bring the Microsoft xCloud game streaming service to India. Bharti Airtel
and Nodwin Gaming have also announced a partnership. Many have also looked at acquiring social gaming apps into their family as several reports indicate that such games are gaining popularity during the pandemic. For instance Ludo King has emerged as the most popular game downloaded during the pandemic according to a report by BARC-Nielsen (TV + smartphone consumption report during crisis, April 2020). These changes are being closely tracked by telecom brands as they look to stay relevant, especially among young subscribers.
Shashwat Sharma, chief marketing officer at Bharti Airtel said added video remains the biggest content play on smartphones. And he hints that it is not just the telecom operators that are gaining from the associations, OTT players benefit too. “Airtel’s deep distribution reach also helps take this content deeper into emerging markets where smartphone penetration has exploded. A prepaid recharge is also a highly convenient mode to get this subscription and removes payment barriers for customers, in particular youth in smaller towns,” said Sharma.
However, when all telecom brands align with the same set of OTT platforms, how does it help differentiate their fare? Market researchers say that there are many reasons at play when brands collaborate, some may want to demonstrate agility while some may want to be seen as different from the rest. However in their partnerships with OTT platforms, telecom brands are not looking for either. They are merely following the customer into his or her areas of preference.
Manpreet Bumrah, vice president, Business Development & Commercial Head, ZEE5
India said that a partnership makes it simpler for millions of customers to access rich and diversified content from the platform, making such alliances beneficial for all.