When Chinese video sharing app Tiktok was banned in India at the end of June this year, it set off a rush by local players to capitalise on the popular space. Now, many video streaming platforms have either launched their own short video sharing platforms or partnered with existing ones.
Over the top (OTT) platform ZEE5 launched HiPi in August and MX Player came out with MX Takatak in July. ALT Balaji recently partnered with short video sharing platforms like Roposo, Chingari, and Firework. In fact, Chingari recently partnered with another OTT player--- Hoichoi.
But what's the need for OTTs to venture into the video sharing space?
Higher engagement across platforms (OTT+short video sharing), growth in user base and getting more traction with advertisers are the few major reasons why OTTs are getting attracted to the short video sharing space.
Since the beta launch of HiPi, ZEE5 has witnessed 43 million new user installs. Plus, 70 million existing users of ZEE5 created accounts on HiPi.
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On HiPi, as much as 10,000 hours of short form content has been created so far and more than 400 influencers including 70 ZEE TV celebrities have come on board on the platform. It also aims to add over 100 more content creators by the end of this year. HiPi has TV stars like Shraddha Arya, Pritam Singh, Vatsal Seth, Daljeet Kaur, Bhuvan Bam.
"The most viewed videos and most popular creators on HiPi are TV stars. Behind-the-scene videos from our shows is fueling the fandom. It is helping the platform (ZEE5) to build higher levels of engagement. Plus, HiPi helps us attract the youth cohort (15- to 20-year-olds) which as an OTT we will not be able to attract through our TV shows. So, from both activation of the new-user segment combined with a high level of engagement for existing users is how HiPi is helping ZEE5," Manish Kalra, Senior Vice-President & Head AVOD, ZEE5 India, told Moneycontrol.
ZEE5 has seen around 20 to 25 percent growth in monthly active users (MAU) in October versus September and similar growth when it comes to video views on the OTT platform, he added.
Kalra attributes this growth to the launch of HiPi. ZEE5 currently has around 54.7 million monthly active users.
After viewers, finding traction amid advertisers is the next big thing. Kalra said that existing advertisers on ZEE5 who wanted short-form video content are going to influencers. "So, that's an advantage for existing advertisers. Plus, more youth brands will start looking at ZEE5 for advertising."
Sharing similar views, Viraj Jit Singh, Head of Revenue at MX Player, said, "We have an ad inventory called roadblock which lets a brand advertise on the masthead of the main app, and this way all the services including MX Takatak users see the ad. So, this way an advertiser reaches a significant number of users."
MX Takatak has around 45 million monthly active users and has on-boarded 600 content creators.
Content creators like Jannat Zubair -- who was a big name on TikTok -- is now on MX Takatak.
"We have got big influencers and this is what the advertisers are looking at. Also, now we are going into the market saying we have both media as well as the influencer group catering to the 18-35 age group," said Singh.
According to Singh, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way advertising money is being spent. Traditional advertisers are also looking at the digital medium, especially OTT and short video sharing space.
With MX Player being an advertising video-on-demand (AVoD) platform, he noted that it is the ad money that will drive the ecosystem and MX Takatak will help attract more advertisers.
While ZEE5 and MX Player have launched their own short video sharing platforms that are integrated in the main app, ALT Balaji and Hoichoi have partnered with existing platforms.
So, how will the partnership help?
According to Divya Dixit, SVP - Marketing, Analytics and Direct Revenue, ALTBalaji, the partnership with platforms like Chingari, Roposo, Firework will help expand their reach.
"These short video apps have very well captured the mass audience of the non-metros. Hence, they are beneficial for ALT Balaji in terms of audience engagement and reach."
"Users gain access to engaging and entertaining bitesize content on the video sharing platforms in the form of tune-ins, actors byte, show dialogue, songs, trailers, promo, etc. It also provides anecdotal information, video memes around past shows, and recently launched web-shows," she added.
So, both ZEE5 and ALT Balaji are banking on fan following for their TV shows which will accelerate viewership on both short video sharing platforms as well as OTT.
Capitalizing on this fandom, HiPi also launched Super Fan Hunt, where the user who uploads the best fan video will get to attend the Zee Rishtey Awards.
HiPi, which launched auditions for its upcoming ZEE5 shows, is also going to 1,200 colleges to audition for the Sunburn Campus Festival. To participate, one will have to download ZEE5 and upload the audition video on HiPi.
The next step for OTTs like ZEE5 and MX Player is to grow in regional and smaller markets with the help of their video sharing platforms."Right now we do not have much regional focus while we do get a lot of videos from Tamil, Telugu, but Hindi remains a predominant use case. But one year from now regional will be the big focus," said Kalra.