Neelesh Dalvi, Head-Digital Operations, Skandha Media Services

Over the last few years, OTT content consumption in India has significantly risen. RBSA Advisors estimates that the Indian OTT video market will grow from $1.5 billion in 2021 to $4 billion in 2025 and then to $12.5 billion by 2030. With the growth in content consumption and user base, OTT platforms are confronted with the problems of quick scaling and growing expenses, all while guaranteeing the quality of content delivery to customers via uninterrupted streaming.

Skandha Media Services, a video service provider for OTT platforms, broadcasters, telecom providers and aggregators, is helping OTT service providers to address these challenges. Its role as a technology provider allows content providers to focus on their core business and grow their business in an increasingly competitive environment.

In the context of this discussion, we speak with Neelesh Dalvi, Head-Digital Operations, Skandha Media Services, who explains some of these trends, obstacles and its innovation roadmap.  

Tell us about the Tech trends in the OTT space in India.
The OTT space is very dynamic, with India still being a fairly young market. Reasonably good connectivity, the proliferation of affordable smartphones and low-cost data packs offered by mobile service providers have led to consistent growth of the local over-the-top (OTT) industry in the last 2-3 years. Per various analysts and industry reports, the number of OTT viewers in India grew by nearly 50 per cent in the last year alone, driven by pandemic induced lockdowns and people mostly remaining indoors. Per an IBEF report, the OTT sector in our country witnessed a whopping 30 per cent rise in the number of paid subscribers, growing to 29 million just between March-July 2020.

With this sudden spike in demand, OTT providers had to strengthen their digital infrastructure to ensure streaming quality and customer service remained intact. Cloud infrastructure has played a key role in making this happen. By working with tech providers like Skandha, OTT players can better focus on their core business and continue to deliver an incredible, content-rich experience to viewers. The advent of 5G will give further fillip to our industry in the coming months.

How is growing OTT content consumption challenging OTT platforms to evolve their technology infrastructure?
OTT platforms have witnessed considerable growth in consumer acquisition. However, to remain competitive, these platforms must address several issues, including the need for low-latency content, infrastructure improvements, a smooth user experience, and viewer retention, among others. At Skandha, our focus is to closely
collaborate with OTT platforms in addressing these difficulties. We are helping them upgrade and better manage their technology infrastructure and platforms to keep up with their changing needs.

What are the challenges that most OTT platforms i.e., your customers face w.r.t. keeping up with the changing consumption behaviour among Indian viewers? How is Skandha helping them address these challenges?
With the rising volume and consumption of OTT content, our clients were encountering many operational and performance-related challenges. These were impacting broadcasting efficiency, leading to reduced operational performance. We stepped in and helped OTT content providers to seamlessly scale up their operations while delivering high-quality content at a lower cost.
Currently, we are developing new workflows, optimising solutions for on-demand scalability, while trying to drive constantly offer a better TCO to our customers. Moreover, our infrastructure and platforms are helping OTT providers seize new opportunities, improve user experience, and stay relevant in this dynamic space.

What differentiates Skandha from its competitors when it comes to technology delivery?
We take great pride in our relentless focus on innovation and deep collaboration with customers. Our key goal is to ensure that all stakeholders, including partners and customers, have a positive user experience and generate/improve their revenue. Our quality talent, deep domain/industry knowledge and level of expertise are some aspects our customers highlight as our key differentiators.

Why did Skandha choose Oracle as the preferred cloud infrastructure provider?
We wanted to move to a next-generation cloud infrastructure to better cope with the sudden spike in demand for OTT content consumption and also to support the next phase of our business expansion. We also wanted to keep our costs down, while improving our service quality, so we can deliver a better wholesome experience to our customers. Oracle’s secure, second-generation cloud infrastructure was the best choice given our critical business requirements. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) has offered us superior price-performance benefits and more flexibility, choice. Our customers are starting to notice the difference.
With OCI, we’ve had a faster runway for migration and management. We were able to be up and running in less than two weeks, saving 30 per cent on time. Our efficiency increased by 40 per cent as well, without compromising on the service quality.

Tell us about your innovation roadmap for the next 12 months.
We are investing in cloud technology migration so that our clients can scale up efficiently when they need it the most. We have also planned cloud migration of Broadcast Production workflows with OCI.