IP&TV News talks to Mukund Cairae about interactive TV, Indian OTT, MENA, and more…
IP&TV News: Tell us about some innovative work Zee is doing in the area of next-gen TV?
Mukund Cairae: We are looking to pioneer interactive TV, and should be launching very soon. Here a user will be able to interact with the TV show and click on actors to pick up information, or click on objects to buy using e-commerce (this latter feature should be introduced at a slightly later stage).
We have also already started Inspired Commerce in ZeeTamil and ZeeTelegu – where for three shows we are promoting users to buy merchandise and goods (clothes/jewelry that protagonists are wearing etc.) over e-commerce and digital telephony.
Is India specifically well suited to regional OTT services, due to its vibrant content industries?
DittoTV has a salient and significantly monetisable low bandwidth (WAP in fact) version called DittoLite. Using DittoLite, users without high bandwidth mobile connections – and those with ONLY WAP connections (that anyway comes by default on every connection these days) – can consume Live TV and VOD content on even non-smartphones. We have a large subscriber base in India today and are planning to launch in Africa soon too.
Furthermore, we will soon be launching a downloadable product (DittoRoaming) where you can download movies, shows and videos in a DRM-protected app over a WiFi HotSpot and then consume the video – for a limited duration of time – even where there is no connectivity.
So there is definitely a market for OTT – despite the low bandwidth and despite low cable costs – if the distribution mechanism is right.
What excites you most about the MENA region at present?
The most exciting thing to look for in the MENA broadcasting ecosystem is the rapid wireless growth – plus the fact that 65% of the population is under 30 years of age. How companies adapt their content to suit this rising Gen Y population in the next 3 years will be interesting to observe. The size of the habitual entertainment screen is getting smaller – and entertainment networks will be looking to narrowcast their content to these screens in the immediate future.
What discussions do you think will dominate at this year’s TV Connect MENA?
Digital presence is no longer a novelty – it’s now a necessity. I believe that this new reality will be large source of discussion at this year’s event.
Mukund Cairae will be appearing at this year’s TV Connect MENA, the only major TV event in the Middle East and African region linking key TV providers in the connected TV delivery ecosystem.