Telcos and OTT Players Should Build Synergies for Healthy Growth: Experts

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There is an urgent need to develop synergies between the telecom service providers and over-the-top (OTT) players for healthy growth at a time when data consumption in India has increased multi-fold, experts said to reporters at IANS. OTT players like Hotstar, ALT Balaji, Zee5, Voot, BigFlix, Sony LIV, Eros Now -- apart from the global giants like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video -- have become popular in both urban and rural areas in the country.

From 2014-2017, OTT players have invested over $300 billion in hosting, transport and delivery infrastructure. "There is a strong case for an even stronger relationship between OTTs and TSPs to emerge given the continued and exponential consumption of data in India at the lowest rates globally, Yaduvendra Mathur, Special Secretary, NITI Aayog, said at an event organised by independent policy forum Broadband India Forum (BIF) here.

There are currently more than 32 online content and video streaming platforms in the country. "We need to provide our rural population with an even greater immersive experience via their smartphones - across not just entertainment but also health, education and a range of other services," Mathur added.

The annual investment by the OTT players globally has more than doubled -- from $29.6 billion in 2011-13 to $69.7 Billion in 2014-17. The Asia-Pacific region has seen three times growth, driving higher demand and investments as compared to other regions.

"OTT services have added to the GDP of the country as well as to the productivity of people. This is in addition to the other benefits that they deliver to the TSPs at a time when their revenue from voice is zero," said TV Ramachandran, President, BIF.

OTT is a very powerful and necessary lever for TSPs and ISPs as revenue generators. "TSPs must be provided relief from excessive levies and taxes to ensure that they're healthy. There is a need to create an ecosystem that is a win-win for them and all other stakeholders," he added.

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