Akamai Diversity

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Beyond the Looking Glass - The OTT Evolution in India

India, while at the cusp of becoming a digital, mobile first country, is also in the middle of evolving content consumption patterns. Hotstar's India Watch Report states that the video consumption in the country has seen a five-fold growth in just one year, with most of this growth is fuelled by mobile. In a country with close to 500 million mobile internet users, an average user spends up to 2.5 times more watch time on mobile content than the web. Now, fuse this trend with the India's love for cricket. The result: drastic increase in the number of people now watching live sports, specifically cricket, on OTT platforms. 10.3 million concurrent viewers watched the VIVO IPL 2018 Final between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), live on Hotstar. That's almost the entire population of the city of London tuning in at the same time to watch the match.

The changing landscape of content consumption in India, has also brought in a wave of evolution for advertisers along with broadcasters. When it comes to broadcasters going online, Akamai helps in multiple ways to ensure seamless delivery on any device, anytime, anywhere. Technological adeptness along with live operations are extremely critical to the success of any broadcaster. We have the expertise to cater to the growing list of OTT providers along with being able to support the surge in the number of devices. Years of experience has led us to prepare and mitigate a wide range of contingencies that may occur. The basic operating premise here, is to ensure that we are able to provide a reliable online broadcasting system at par with traditional broadcast while providing a higher quality and rich user experience. The superior quality streams translate into a monetization strategy for broadcasters and advertisers on these platforms. Solutions like Dynamic Ad Insertion enables them to reach audiences in mobile-first markets as compared to terrestrial broadcast which is an expensive proposition. SonyLIV, the official and exclusive mobile and internet broadcaster for the India Tour of South Africa series, leveraged our Server Side Ad Insertion capabilities to deliver targeted advertisements with 100% fill rate during the live stream. And the best part: there was zero compromise on the viewing experience for users. This clearly marks an opportunity for digital advertisers to attain scale and reach, in India and across the globe.

Pitch Madison's Advertising Report for 2018 predicts that the advertising spend on digital platforms will reach USD 170 million in 2018, representing a 19.5% increase over the USD 137 million spent in 2017. In 2017, the spend on mobile was 78% of the total digital outlay with video representing 35% of the total spend, indicating a strong growth of consumer trends in the country. Not only have we reached an inflection point with regards to online viewership patterns, but we are also in the era of high user engagement. The 'Watch'NPlay' option on Hotstar, along with VR and social features on the app are a good example of how content providers are delivering superior immersive user experience.

While the challenge on one hand is to keep audiences engaged with a TV-like experience, the equally hard part is ensuring that advertisers see value in leveraging digital platforms to drive views and consequently, revenue through advertisements. Akamai's capabilities allows us to successfully deliver premier events like IPL 2018 and the India - South Africa cricket series to viewers across the country. Our team consists of experienced folks who have worked on multiple large-scale events and can adapt to the constantly evolving content consumption patterns while also keeping in mind the best practices to make any live event a success.

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