Personalized UI/UX: The Key to Differentiating in the Fast-Moving Indian OTT Space

Aug 02, 2021
Media & Entertainment | 4 min READ
As per Exchange4media, India's OTT subscriber base has doubled to reach 62mn, leading to revenues of US$639mn with year-on-year growth of 142% in 2020. Although the segment is slightly concentrated with the two largest (Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar) OTT TV & video services controlling half of the market share (in terms of subscriber base), there has been the steady entrance of niche localized platforms in the past 12 months.
Kedar Mohite
Kedar Mohite

Former Global Head

Media & Technology Practice


A couple of examples are City Shor TV, Planet Marathi, Letsflix, and Koode, etc. Furthermore, an increase in smartphone internet subscriber base (+8% annually) and broadband households (+3% annually) along with low per GB mobile data tariff of US$0.7 (global average of US$4.2) are further enabling higher adoption of these OTT TV & video services regionally and locally.
Although these macroeconomic factors are key, rising mobile TV & video viewership (+182% annually), especially short-form, remain the flagship indicators for a push towards an OTT-based consumption model on a short to medium-term basis. This has led to unprecedented spending on local and regional media asset repositories, reaching 220 titles in 2020, stipulated to more than double in the next 12 months (E&Y estimates).
Although exponential spend on premium media assets will continue to rise in a highly fragmented, cost-sensitive, and localized market to acquire a newer customer base, focusing on securing long-term retention is also vital in the long run.
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Ease of Usability and Personalized UX/UI Without Offsetting Performance Vital
India's OTT TV & video segment is still at a nascent stage, i.e., the first wave of personalization with aggressive local and regional reach as the flagship key performance indicator (KPI). Thus, this volumetric approach woven around the acquisition of a newer audience base has mainly built a standardized UI/UX ecosystem, as highlighted in figure 1 below.
Two distinct Indian OTT TV & video services UI/UX for same digital audience, 2021
Two distinct Indian OTT TV & video services UI/UX for same digital audience, 2021
Figure 1: Two distinct Indian OTT TV & video services UI/UX for same digital audience, 2021
Although the content recommendation on each of these OTT platforms differs for the same audience attributed to an in-app and third party (e.g., social networks, etc.) digital footprints, rights repository, and recommendation engine algorithm, the user experience remains unchanged.
As the spending on third party rights and in-house (original) programming continue to surge for each of the OTT platforms, maintain customer retention rates, ease of usability, the performance of the OTT app, and personalization of UI/UX to be crucial differentiators on the long-run (i.e., in the second and third wave of personalization with incremental ARPU, and ARPA to be the primary KPI).
As, slowly but gradually, audience preference moves beyond multi-faceted media asset consumption to intuitive UI/UX based on mood, time of day, co-viewership, navigation perception index, etc. the following are essential to be pre-embedded in the transformation road-map:
Personalized UI/UX ecosystem road-map, 2021
Figure 2: Personalized UI/UX ecosystem road-map, 2021

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Media curation inefficiencies and continuously changing consumption platforms remain flagship challenges.
Personalized UI/UX: The Key to Differentiating in the Fast-Moving Indian OTT Space
Also, as multi-dimensional engagement touchpoints accelerate beyond TV & video assets to gaming, music, etc., these will aggravate significant challenges and bottlenecks for Indian OTT platforms in creating a highly scalable and adaptive personalized UI/UX ecosystem. Some of those are:
continuously changing consumption platforms

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As personalization of UI/UX is an ongoing process with SLA based continuous assessment of technical configuration, architecture, and pre-embedded workflows pivotal to not only maintain the premium quality of performance (i.e., close to little load time, time outs, errors, etc.) but also synthesize re-engineered interface ROI and feasibility.
Furthermore, safeguarding ease of usage (search, navigation, etc.) on multiple screens and devices is also a necessity along with cost-effective contextual UI to not only enhance incremental ARPU and ARPA (for as-supported business models). Also, as OTT TV & video platforms aggressively expand their premium engagement offerings beyond TV & video assets, i.e., Netflix foray into gaming, etc., this will further increase the complexities towards building a personalized UI/UX Anywhere Everywhere for every audience, especially with ARPU’s to decline attributed to competitive pressures on the long-run.
Retention rates core driver towards embarking on personalized UI/UX journeys
Thus, as India OTT TV & video services segment moves towards the second wave of personalization in the next few years, the content recommendation will be insufficient, leveraging solutions to strengthen their local and regional market share by delivering a hyper contextual experience and engagement witness strong adoption curve.
Time to market, retention rates, and legacy media asset curation dynamics will result in OTT TV & video services following the transformation road-map woven around:
  • Either building in-house or hybrid or leveraging a managed outsource model.
  • Focusing on manual or hybrid, or cognitive services (AI) embedded UX/UI design workflow.
  • Maintaining in-house or hybrid, or third party, SLA-backed audience research, and testing services.
  • Utilizing unified (with tightly pre-integrated upstream supply chain workflows such as DAM/MAM, production, etc.) or modular platform or bespoke solution offering.
  • Developing single or hybrid or regional
Finally, as diversified product offering lies at the epicenter of most local, regional, and global OTT TV & video services in India, embarking on the personalized UI/UX journey will be the crucial differentiation and provide a sustainable competitive edge.
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