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Undercover Productions: “4G will give Indian OTT a boost”

Abhigyan Jha, Founder & CEO, Undercover Productions

Abhigyan Jha,
Founder & CEO,
Undercover Productions

Few are doing more interesting things with internet TV than India-based mavericks Undercover Productions. Here we speak to Undercover founder & CEO Abhigyan Jha…

IP&TV News: Hi Abhigyan. Looking at the ecosystem in general, what do you think the most significant developments have been over the last year?

The adoption of the mobile internet in India and the unbelievable growth of smartphones in India have both been striking. 200 million is no longer a deniable figure. I still say the real number is upward of 400 million. Lots of people have raised money and deployed YouTube channel models. While these will all fail – the heat generated by the sector is astonishing. One OTT player, Lukup, has now even decided to apply for ISP & Cable MSO operator licenses.

This year will also see 4G hit India – which means OTT will get even more of a boost. Star has entered OTT in a big way with hotstar and IPL numbers have been seven times that of Starsports last year.

Do you stand by your expectation that the days of traditional broadcasting are numbered? Do you see services such as HBO NOW as indicative of an inevitable wider trend?

Oh yes. Traditional broadcasting is already dead – though a lot of people are in denial. This year saw the departure of many big names from traditional broadcasting. There is no Leno, no Stewart – and even Letterman is leaving. Oprah & Larry King are gone too. These are cost rationalisation efforts.

Broadcast is under pressure: it has nothing exclusive besides sports. If Netflix, Amazon & other newer players up their game then soon all the best TV shows will be out of the broadcast paradigm. HBO will always do better in the new scenario than other broadcasters as it makes far less content while doing the most premium. Netflix is really a version of HBO. The future belongs to exclusive hyper premium content served across all platforms, and across all geographies, at same time. And across all retail outlets too. There really is no point in denying House of Cards to HBO subscribers after the first run.

You’ll be appearing at this year’s Broadband and TV Connect Asia. What do you think the main hot topics are for the region at present – and is Undercover involved in many other parts of Asia?

Net neutrality is the biggest area of concern right now with the Govt of India poised to decide on it and couple of zero rated offerings threatening neutrality are already announced.

Our big reality show for Singapore is still on hold due to funding reasons but it is a next gen Reality Show & when it does happen – it will just change the way we talk about 360 degree programming.

And why are you going back to this event? What’s so important about it?

I am coming back to the event to meet and influence decision makers and perhaps be influenced by them. We have a whole of lot skin in the game and we need to evolve this new ecosystem properly for everyone.

Click here for booking and more info on Broadband and TV Connect Asia (12th-13th May 2015, Suntec, Singapore)

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