According to Varun Mathur, Co-founder and Director of VEQTA, the time for OTT is just right, it is the perfect timing for OTT in India. There is a lot of demand in the Indian audiences, especially from younger audience for high quality international sports content. Mathur states that VEQTA is targeting rapid adoption by paying subscribers in India.
- Q. Being the co-founder and director of VEQTA, what triggered the upsurging of the sports OTT? Can you give us a broad overview about the platform?
- A. Indian sports broadcast is still in a very nascent stage. The number of sports and the depth within those sports in very limited for audiences in India. So, we felt having been part of the ecosystem for so many years, the Indian sports’ fans have developed a much more holistic perspective towards sports and they should be able to enjoy a much wider selection of sports’ properties from all around the world. That was the thought behind creating VEQTA, an OTT platform dedicated to sports.
We are observing how consumer habits & consumption patterns are changing and we felt that the best way to address the content gap for Indian sports fans is no longer to establish a new TV channel for sports but to launch an OTT platform. This will enable them to not only see this new variety of international sports content but also be able to experience it when they want and where they want; while they are on the move, on their mobile devices, laptops . VEQTA is a sports OTT platform and we will serve close to 6000 hours of live sports action in 2017.
- Q. Which sports category is more popular in India? Does VEQTA provide the named content?
- A. VEQTA will be covering a very large variety of content spanning across key sports like Tennis, Fight sports, Rugby, Motorsports, Football, Basketball etc. We will also be offering top quality Baseball action from the United States, along with binge watching sports like Darts, Snooker, Pool, Bowling etc.
- Q. What about the expansion rate for number of subscribers?
- A. The OTT adoption in India is witnessing very rapid growth and given the large number of sports fans in India, we expect our platform to witness very impressive growth over the next two years.
- Q. Is there any hindrance for the platform’s evolution in the OTT sector?
- A. I don’t think there are any significant hurdles any more, there were questions around the number of smartphones users, the general internet speeds etc. but all of that is changing very rapidly. With the launch of Reliance Jio and the competitive offerings from Vodafone, Idea and Airtel, data costs have dropped significantly and speeds have also improved drastically. Smartphone adoption is also at an all time high in the country. Over a span of the next two to three years, we see the OTT ecosystem maturing. Urban customers will start to replace their television experience with OTT and cord-cutting will become more common. I think the time for OTT is just right, it is the perfect timing for OTT in the country.
- Q. How will the introduction of the VEQTA app be evolving in the OTT ecosystem?
- A. VEQTA will be available to the customers through a flagship website and android & IOS app on mobile devices. We will also be launching apps for smart televisions and next generation set-top boxes which will allow traditional televisions to be converted into smart televisions. Our revamped website will be launched in April 2017, followed by our new apps for Android and IOS.
- Q. Back in June last year, VEQTA signed a deal for Social Media management, how will the partnership contribute to the development of VEQTA?
- A. As a technology powered next generation sports platform, VEQTA wants to engage with fans across as many touch points in their daily lives as we can. Social Media is very important & integral to the lives of our fans and hence we want to work with as many sports bodies & rights owners as we can to drive awareness of their international sports offerings amongst fans in India using social media.
- Q. With VEQTA’s partnership with Manchester City last year for digital content, is the company planning similar partnerships in the future?
- A. Manchester City FC is one of the world’s most iconic and followed sports teams and VEQTA’s partnership with them allows football fans in India to engage with the club in a never before way. VEQTA will be partnering with more leading football clubs like Manchester City and other sports bodies & federations from across the world spanning Tennis, Fight Sports, Rugby, Motorsports, Basketball, Baseball etc.. We will be collaborating with both sports entities like clubs/teams and also with leagues & federations at an overall level. Live sports action/matches from their stables will be brought on the platform along with a lot of Value-Added-Content.