While saying that pay TV consumption will probably grow in India, DTH company Tata Play MD and CEO Harit Nagpal has also made sure that the company he helms is in tune with times and has newer things to offer to consumers — online content aggregated at one place though Tata Play Binge app, which now has gone global.
Nagpal’s vision of the Indian market and his views on growth of pay TV, made to CNBC in Bali, Indonesia, on the sidelines of a media conference, however, stands in contrast to the opinion held by another business leader and visionary — Uday Shankar, co-founder of Bodhi Tree System and former top exec of Disney APAC. Shankar feels that the Indian market is now ripe for a service that’s an alternative to legacy TV.
Asked by CNBC about Tata Play Binge, an app that aggregates other streaming apps for consumers to access at one place, Nagpal explained that the idea got fine-tuned when the demand for on-demand services came to India and “we thought to be ready for it”.
However, Nagpal was bullish on India’s pay TV market and was of the opinion that there’s enough room for it to grow.
There are millions of homes without TV still in India and, he explained, when they become TV-enabled, some of those subscribers would definitely go to free TV (maybe, he was alluding to Prasar Bharati’s FreeDish), but some will also join the pay TV universe.
He justified the resilience of pay TV by saying 110 million homes continue to pay and, if there was a risk to pay TV from newer techs, then that risk would have shown up by now.
Nagpal told CNBC that even though the 2023 edition of IPL cricket was available for free online (on JioCinema), Tata Play’s subscriber base grew riding the cricket wave. If people are buying scooters and cars, that doesn’t mean Metrol rail as a medium of conveyance would go away, he quipped trying to draw a parallel between pay TV and other modes of video delivery like free TV and OTT platforms.
India is a country of ‘and’ not ‘or’. It becomes a question of ‘or’ in markets where TV is outpriced, but in India pay TV and OTT subscriptions, for example, are almost similar, Nagpal rationalised.
Meanwhile, HinduBusinessline yesterday reported that Tata Play will offer Tata Play Binge software as a white label solution to OTT app aggregators globally.
It has inked its first strategic partnership in this regard with leading pay TV provider in Philippines, Cignal TV.
The Tata Play Binge aggregator solution enables users to watch content from multiple OTT apps by downloading one app, with one subscription, on one screen, the report stated.
Nagpal told Businessline, “The Tata Play Binge software architecture is now available as PaaS, providing end-to-end development and deployment opportunities. We are in talks with eight-nine service providers for such partnerships.”
With the launch of this enterprise solution, the company has created a unique OTT content aggregation and distribution ecosystem. While the promoter company will focus on tying up with OTT partners and acquiring subscribers in the region, Tata Play will manage its end-to-end technology platform over the cloud, the Businessline report added.
“We expect the revenue stream to become substantial as we sign up with more partners to offer them our Tata Play Binge aggregator platform as a white label solution,” he added.
In India, currently, Tata Play has close to a million Binge subscribers.
Quoting from a statement, the Businessline report said Jane J Basas, President & CEO of Cignal TV, opined that they were “keen on an OTT aggregation product as a natural evolution of our service and recognise the success of Tata Play Binge in this space as a model to follow.”