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Interview with Ali Hussein, Chief Operating Officer, Eros Now

September 27, 2018
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Interview with Ali Hussein, Chief Operat...
The media and entertainment sector has been rapidly increasing the use of technology to enhance business performance and efficiency. Information and communication technology (ICT) is playing an important role in various functions of the industry such as operations, product enhancement and service delivery. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT) and data analytics hold a promising future in this space and are already seeing deployment at various levels. However, the deployment of new-age technologies and cutting-edge ICT solutions is laden with several challenges, including the lack of adequate IT infrastructure. Ali Hussein, Chief Operating Officer, Eros Now talks about the ICT trends in the media and entertainment industry…


What role is ICT playing in the media and entertainment industry? How has data explosion impacted the way business is being conducted?

Let’s take the example of the music business. Earlier, we used to listen to music on tapes, cassettes and CDs, but now there is no physicality involved in music delivery. Music is one of the content units that have become entirely digital; the other of course is video. Video by nature has heavy content size and hence requires significant infrastructure support to ensure consistent delivery to a large number of customers. In the past two years, Reliance Jio has significantly contributed to the growth of this infrastructure. Another example is that of digital news content, which has now become an intrinsic part of the overall news consumption economy. So, essentially, the delivery of content is shifting to the digital platform and the role of ICT is becoming prominent.

The data explosion has impacted our business in a big way. Online video is one area where the data boom has been fantastic, riding on cheaper but better quality connectivity. As a result, users get access to good quality videos on demand. However, this brings to the table the challenge of monetising this surging data consumption. When Jio entered the market, online video users doubled from 100 million to 200 million within a year. While this was very encouraging from the data usage point of view, advertisement driven monetisation for online videos took a hit.

What ICT solutions are being adopted by your organisation and how have they benefited business performance and efficiency?

Our business is all about video and digital lies at its core. ICT plays a key role in video hosting, data storage and content delivery, and ultimately enhances user experience.

What is the role of emerging technologies such as big data analytics, AI, and IoT in the media and entertainment industry?

Technologies like machine learning and AI play a key role in enhancing user experience, and also aid in content discovery. The more content a user consumes, the more information we capture in terms of viewership habits. When decoded through data science, this information helps us in better understanding the users and delivering quality content to them.

What are the key challenges in the deployment of new technologies and management of the existing IT and telecom infrastructure?

The biggest challenge remains on the infrastructure side. Even in a city like Mumbai, the quality of voice services needs drastic improvement. Also, the quality of data connectivity is a challenge in the delivery of seamless user experience for video.

The second challenge is to understand how the industry will adapt to newer technologies. Consumer-related information is getting more personal and not just the telcos, but the entire telecom ecosystem needs to gear up to deliver a more personalised user experience.

What ICT trends will shape the media and entertainment industry going forward?

We will see significant investments in the technology infrastructure, going forward. Another interesting trend will be a shift in content consumption as delivery will not be restricted to mobile devices. There will be several other media such as smart TVs that will play a key role in the consumption of digital content. The Indian audience is evolving as the programming landscape in the country improves. Going forward,  consumer demand for quality is going to grow significantly and brands like Eros Now will be leading the pack catering to this demand.




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