OTT (Over the Top) media services which offer direct streaming services to viewers, have been gaining popularity worldwide. Some of the frontrunners of such services are Netflix and Amazon Prime, which remain popular worldwide. However, the scenario is quite different when it comes to the Indian OTT industry. According to a report released by Counterpoint Research in April 2018, the Indian streaming platform Hotstar is the most popular OTT platform in India. Hotstar is closely followed by Amazon’s Prime Video and SonyLIV, while Netflix ranks 4th.
The popularity of OTT platforms is slowly rising with the increase of local OTT platforms like ALTBalaji, Voot and SonyLIV, which are giving direct competition to foreign platforms like Prime Video and Netflix. Recently, the popular food delivery app Zomato also joined the OTT industry with the introduction of its Zomato Originals. The main reason behind so many new OTT platforms coming to the market is the increasing profits generated by such platforms in India.
The video OTT revenue in India was Rs. 2,019 crores in 2017. It is expected to reach Rs. 5,955 crores by 2022. With 500 million internet users, another number which is growing steadily at the rate of 8 percent, India has become the number one market for media and entertainment sector. It is also reported that the Indian OTT market is set to outperform the global OTT market and will likely be ranked among the top 10 by 2022.
With so many options, the competition between the various platforms has also grown. The platforms are investing in originals produced by the platform itself in order to attract audiences. The success of Netflix’s Sacred Games and Ghoul, Prime Video’s The Family Man and Hotstar’s AIB On Air and Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai proved original series are a working formula. With Indian audiences looking for good original content, the platforms are taking full advantage in order to increase their revenue.
Another factor contributing to the popularity of certain platforms is the pricing of these OTT platforms. The prices play a really important role as many local OTT platforms provide the majority of their content free of cost, while international platforms like Netflix and Prime Video have a process of monthly or annual subscription in order to let the users access their content. This is a major reason behind the popularity of local OTT platforms.
With the explosion of OTT platforms in recent years and with the availability of affordable data, the consumption of digital media has also increased. It will be interesting to see what kind of strategies these OTT platforms will follow in order to attract more audiences to their channels.
Google’s Hum To Search Feature Is Here To Make Searching For Songs Easier
When Shazam was released for the first time, the entire smartphone community breathed a sigh of relief because the app let users search for songs by making the app listen to what is being played in your surroundings. Since then finding new songs and genres has become easier as searching for songs at your favourite clubs or at a friend’s party is now at one’s fingertips. But, what if you only know a piece of music or a tune which is stuck in your head and no way to identify the song.
Google is making it possible to try to find a song with its new feature called ‘hum to search.’ The feature can listen to humming, whistling or singing to identify songs. ‘Hum to search’ is triggered when you ask Google “what is this song?” and then proceed to perform bits of the tune to the best of your ability. Google will then present a list of songs according to a percentage match score which comes closest to your performance.
Google’s machine learning algorithm converts the audio input into a numbers based sequence which it then matches with other song melodies and tries to find the closest matching tune. The model was trained with several sources with actual people singing, humming and whistling in addition to real studio recordings. Google’s algorithms can also strip away musical instruments, as well as the timbre and tone of the singer’s voice in order so it only relies on the actual numeric sequence in the song matching process.
The ‘hum to search’ option is live and currently supports more than twenty languages. While the feature might seem minor in terms of utility it makes up for improving the quality of life on a major level. Google has once again proved to the world as to why it is the best company out there with their ‘hum to search’ feature.
Google Relents By Deferring 30% Play Store App Fee For Developers
Indian companies and startups are beginning to come together and are calling for an Indian companies only alliance, to take on tech giant Google. This comes after a severe backlash from the Indian Startup ecosystem over Google’s billing policies. Last month Google clarified apps which fall under the category of education, games, dating and other content must use its in-app Google billing system in India as long as the apps are distributed through Google Play store.
Phones which run on Google’s open source operating system, Android, own about 90% of the smartphone market in India. Paytm was pulled out from Google’s Play store for several hours after Google said Paytm violated its policies. Sensing the disgruntlement among Indian startups, which incidentally also contribute to Google’s cloud business, the tech giant took the decision to defer the 30% commission till March 2022.
“We will be setting up Policy Workshops to help clear any additional questions about our play store policies (sic,)” Purnima Kocchar, Director of Business Development, Games & Applications, Google Play said in a blog post.
The move was welcomed by the Indian Startup ecosystem as they believe Google is listening to their concerns while some leading startups believe this deferment offers a unique opportunity to come up with an Indian alternative for the play store under the Atmanirbhar Bharat push. Paytm on Sunday said it is starting a service where other apps can be listed on its payments app and one can use them within Paytm, similar to a super app. Paytm said it has been testing the mini app store with select users and it will be free of charge. Paytm’s Mini App Store aims to drive a self-sufficient India and retain consumer spending within the country, the startup said in a statement Monday. Pioneered by Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat, mini apps are custom-built, low-cost software for basic mobile phones that offer users an app-like experience without the need to download full versions.
Founder of CCAvenues, Vishwas Patel said “ust because Google owns the gate and the gateway to the digital ecosystem of this country, they should not act arbitrarily and enforce their rules and regulations which are contrary to our country’s laws. Also, they cannot force Indian apps developers/owners selling digital services to compulsorily use the Google Billing and payment system and charge 30 % MDR (sic.)”
India has a wealth of technical resources and it will be interesting to see how the Indian Startups will come up with ideas to create a new system which will bring down the digital monopoly of a behemoth.
Facebook To Enable Cross Platform Messaging By Merging Instagram And Facebook Messengers
Facebook is planning to merge its messenger with Instagram’s direct messaging feature in a move which will enable users to send cross platform messages. The iconic direct messaging feature on Instagram will no longer be working and will instead be replaced by Facebook Messenger. This will enable users on Facebook to send photos and videos to Instagram users and vice versa.
The new Instagram Message feature will look similar to the Facebook Messenger according to Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and users will be able to choose if they wish to switch from Instagrams current direct message feature to the new messenger. But it is important to note that the cross communication between the two platforms will not be end to end encrypted right now.
A spokesperson for Facebook said the changes will be rolled out in a few countries initially and will slowly expand to other countries. This news comes over a year after it was revealed Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg was planning to integrate messenger services of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. The reasoning, according to Facebook, is that users would be able to contact more people since they could do so from any of the three applications.
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