Women, small-towners drive usage on digital platforms, says BCG-Meta study

Over 50% are digitally influenced for consuming any content—digital or offline, it said, while up to 50% of the content discovery happens off the platform or network—both for TV and OTT

Lata Jha
Updated29 Mar 2023
Digital influence is at similar levels for regional and Hindi viewers but is driven by different channels.
Digital influence is at similar levels for regional and Hindi viewers but is driven by different channels. (Photo: Mint)

The impact of digital platforms extends beyond the common perception of catering to men, young people, and urban dwellers. Women, small-town residents, and people over 35 also actively explore content via these online channels, a report by Boston Consulting Group and Meta said.

For instance, 78% of the surveyed male users of video streaming platforms said they use digital channels to engage after consuming content. It is equally high at 77% for women, the report added.

In the Meta-commissioned repoindurt, Seeing the BIG Picture - Harnessing Digital to Drive M&E Growth, BCG surveyed over 2,600 consumers across 15 towns and cities.

Over 50% are digitally influenced for consuming any content—digital or offline, it said, while up to 50% of the content discovery happens off the platform or network—both for TV and OTT. For linear TV viewers, more women (34%) are digitally influenced than men (26%) in the pre-viewing stage. Furthermore, 80% of consumers said not having good digital content to supplement linear TV programmes is a pain point.

“Audiences in India have already been initiated on their digital journey. Digital maturity has gone beyond the metros, and it is time for media companies to realise that they need to address and convince wider audiences to consume their content,” said Shaveen Garg, managing director and partner BCG.

The spectrum to market the content, once created, has now grown, extending to strategies like behind-the-scenes videos, influencers and short memes even after the content is out, Garg added.

Shweta Bajpai, director and vertical head, media, finserv, travel, real estate and services, Meta in India, said not many media firms are using social media to target segments like women or older users since the common belief is they do not make up a big enough chunk of the viewer base. “There is an opportunity for both organic promotions and in changing the media mix in paid ones.”

Digital consumption hours per per-day per-viewer has also grown from 2.1-2.2 hours in 2019 to 3-3.3 in 2022, the Meta BCG report said. While pay-TV households continue to grow in India, it is static or declining in the US and China. Besides, at 51%, the user base for OTT subscription video on demand is growing 3-4 times faster than in the US and China.

Video verticals are catering to this appetite and are likely to grow at a 12% compound annual growth rate for the next three years, it said. There are 600 million online video viewers in India (50% up over 2019), and original content on OTT is likely to reach 4,000 hours by 2024 (twice that of 2019). Over 50% of all time spent on OTT by 2025 will be on vernacular content, the report added.

The report said content consumption, such as linear TV, OTT and movies, has been vertical agnostic for over 40% of respondents, and around 71% of 35-plus consumers are being influenced by digital before watching OTT content, and 54% before watching movies. Around 66% of women are impacted by digital before watching OTT content, and 55% before watching films. Even as far as economic status goes, the percentage of the population influenced by digital before watching OTT remains the same at 76% for both below 10 lakh and above 10 lakh income groups. Around 81% of those surveyed is influenced by digital before watching OTT.

That said, digital influence is at similar levels for regional and Hindi viewers but is driven by different channels. Over 60% of consumers seek information on content before deciding to watch anything. In fact, up to 80% of research occurs online across verticals—nearly 83% for watching OTT, and about 68% for content created by movie studios.

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