EP #10: How ALTBalaji Is Supercharging Growth In The OTT Space With An India-first Approach

EP #10: How ALTBalaji Is Supercharging Growth In The OTT Space With An India-first Approach

About This Episode

Divya is the Senior Vice President and Head of Marketing at ALTBalaji –  an Indian subscription-based video on demand platform which creates original, tailor-made content for Indian audiences. During her previous stint, she worked as the Vice President of Marketing at Zee5.

In this episode…

Divya walks us through the current state of the Indian OTT space while revealing the factors which affect the growth of digital content across tier 1 and tier 2 cities of India and shares:

i. ALTBalaji’s brand positioning strategy in a crowded space.
ii. The typical user journey on the ALTBalaji platform.
iii. Where the next big avenue of growth lies in India for OTT?
iv. The power of Indianized content & massification in content creation.
v. How churn can be controlled and accounted for without affecting topline growth?



Here are our top 3 picks from the episode:


1. Addressing the churn of the consumers and delivering value through great content

Priyam: Do help us understand the typical journey of a new user, right from the very first impression which could be anything, maybe he/she sees a hoarding somewhere or an ad, what happens after that? How do you guys basically acquire that user?

Divya: I will touch upon this very briefly. So typically there are two ways to acquire a customer in our digital/OTT space, one is organic where your consumer may have seen your hoarding, TV ad, radio ad, digital impressions on social media or just the word of mouth. The inorganic way is through performance marketing, where you are working on target viewers on a month on month basis with a certain cost of acquisition per customer. What makes lives for people working in the OTT industry difficult is the rate of churn that you have to constantly address because of the lack of loyalty from the consumers. The loyalty factor not just affects the OTT industry but also the broadcast; people don’t watch you because you are a reputed television network, they come to you because of the quality of content. There is a certain rate of churn that you are always fighting with and along with that, you are constantly focused on acquiring new users. Content and the subscriber base is the real value for the app.

Priyam: Absolutely! The value which you provide to the consumer regardless of the industry is of utmost importance.

2. Positioning the brand in the right manner to the right consumers in a competition heavy market

Priyam: So another question about brand positioning looking at other players right now, if I look at Netflix, Prime Video and probably Hotstar as well, they have a lot of massy, I won’t say massy content, probably international content is the better word for it. But ALTBalaji is not going that way. ALTBalaji is purely Indian content, Indian-ised content, Indian original shows. Is this going to be a dominant positioning strategy for ALTBalaji for the next couple of years or are we looking to have international shows as well?

Divya: So like I keep telling everybody who speaks to me that there is India beyond Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. Please look at that. That’s where your growth is gonna come from, that’s where your video consumption is going to come from because people are tired of the tyranny of the broadcast, people are tired of watching the same saas-bahu concept, people don’t want to see it.
Indian males are for sure, tired. So obviously, it’s a very explosive subject internally but I still like to push it because I think our creative team and Ekta understand that the digital audience is very different. We are trying to break the tyranny. In that scenario, I really want to create content that’s massy. Our content has to be massy. Our content has to be easily understood and our content needs to have that unique storytelling that will go down with the masses and also have what is not available on the television. Why would I want to alienate them by giving them international content which they are anyway not interested in? Netflix has a category that plays up to 5% of India, we have a category that plays up to 95% of India and we would like to stay in that category.

Priyam: Fair enough!

3. Differing content preferences across India and the role of inclusive content viewing in India

Priyam: Getting into user behavior a little bit, Divya. Considering the fact that ALTBalaji boasts of 30 million-odd users in India who are above 18 years of age, male or female. There are such vasts audiences on the platform pertaining to different geographies of the country, is there any kind of content preference that stands out or is there any kind of content that performs the best?

Divya: Sure. The space that ALTBalaji truly wants to focus on right now is the family and romance dramas and also male-oriented thrillers. Also considering the fact that Smart TVs takes 55% sales of total television sales in this country, we as a platform, are also focusing on the inclusive shows. I also have a Smart TV connected to fibre at my home where the family spends quality television time during the evening. I have a feeling that inclusive viewing in India is going to go up although mobile viewing is still playing a major role for the individuals.

Closing notes

Divya brought forth the key understandings of the OTT space which involves re-acquisition of the users, content personalization, handling churn on a daily basis, the unaddressed part of India in terms of content and how to solve for unrestricted growth.

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Divya Dixit SVP - Direct Revenue, Marketing & Analytics, ALTBalaji

Divya Dixit is the SVP-Direct Revenue, Marketing & Analytics at ALT Balaji - an Indian subscription-based video-on-demand platform. Divya is a seasoned marketing professional with over 20 years of experience across industries like digital, broadcasting, telecom, music, and retail. She was previously the VP of Marketing at Zee5 - an Indian video-on-demand service run by Essel Group.



Priyam Jha Lead - Brand Marketing, WebEngage

Priyam looks after Brand Marketing at WebEngage, learning the ropes of building iconic brands in the B2B space. He is striving to develop EngageCast into the leading podcast for user retention & engagement with cutting-edge, top-quality content. When he isn't busy looking after brand marketing & PR initiatives, he likes to dabble in a bit of photography, listen to rock music, and indulge in PC gaming.