Home >News >India >Emerging platforms can help you choose what to watch on Netflix, Amazon
Video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and many others still see their users facing problem in discovering content. Photo Imaging: Kishore Rawat
Video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and many others still see their users facing problem in discovering content. Photo Imaging: Kishore Rawat

Emerging platforms can help you choose what to watch on Netflix, Amazon

  • One VoD platform may throw up recommendations based on what you’ve watched on it, but the algorithm gets messed up when the same account is being mooched by multiple users, as is often the case in India

New Delhi: A bunch of new, emerging social media networks are innovating to get users to interact with their friends, family and like-minded individuals to discover content easily on OTT (over-the-top) streaming platforms. Despite their paid subscribers rising 60-80% and the consumption on their platforms increasing nearly five times, video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and many others still see their users facing problem in discovering content.

“On television, the options, given your individual social interests, were rather finite. But now with streaming services, everything is on demand and the mind gets boggled because of the problem of plenty," said Shashank Singh, founder and CEO at Flyx, a social media network that allows people to curate content lists and give recommendations.

One VoD platform may throw up recommendations based on what you’ve watched on it, but the algorithm gets messed up when the same account is being mooched by multiple users, as is often the case in India. Further, the service doesn’t take into account what you have been watching on other platforms. On platforms like Flyx, you can create a group with friends, family and like-minded individuals and follow trust-based recommendations.

Greg Armshaw, senior director solution sales, APAC at Brightcove Inc., a global provider of cloud solutions for video, said mobile-first countries like India tend to get attracted mainly by high-profile content and depend on social discovery methods like trailers and recommendations to decide what to watch.

“The need for shared experiences becomes even more important in this time of covid," Armshaw said referring to the fact that most people are not really meeting physically to be able to have these conversations.

Streaming guides like Just Watch and IMDb lists also curate the best of recommendations and personalize them for users based on individual tastes. Mehul Gupta, co-founder and CEO at SoCheers, an independent digital agency said discovery of content that's not high-profile definitely becomes a problem in a country like India where regional programming across multiple languages is currently driving penetration into tier-two and tier-three markets but very few are able to discover niche shows and make an informed decision to watch them unless a certain community talks about it.

“The template of throwing up recommendations based on price and features of previous purchases may work on e-commerce but it’s pretty outdated as far as entertainment goes," said Nitin Narkhede, founder of The-Ally, a company that specializes in blockchain distribution technology for filmmakers and VoD platforms. Ali Hussein, CEO at Eros Now added that it becomes an additional challenge given that unlike TV, streaming content doesn’t come out at designated intervals for people to keep track of and services, particularly in India are only learning to work with AI (artificial intelligence) techniques to identify user cohorts and their behaviour.

However, some platforms are trying to innovate. Netflix users can thumbs up and thumbs down titles and adjust their view history to have better control over recommendations. The service has also rolled out the daily top 10 feature to members all over the world that is updated every day and a tab called “Latest" that shows members titles that are new in the week or will be released later.

“Going forward, OTTs will learn to recommend different content for different moods and times of the day as better access to data will help," said Vishal Shah, managing partner at GroupM-owned media agency MediaCom. There will also be an increase in interactive offerings like Bandersnatch on Netflix, that allows viewers to make decisions for the characters, Shah added.

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