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Divya Dixit’s article discusses the dynamic evolution of OTT marketing and its pivotal role in brand building. It underscores the need to comprehend consumer behavior in the ever-changing landscape of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms. The article emphasizes the importance of data-driven approaches and tailored content to drive brand growth in the OTT space. It explores innovative techniques for brand building and offers insights into staying competitive in the OTT marketing domain. Dixit’s analysis serves as a valuable resource for marketers looking to harness the power of digital platforms, providing a comprehensive understanding of the strategies and tactics required to thrive in this dynamic marketing landscape.
Key Take Aways
Divya Dixit:- But what I strongly feel and which is what I have written and spoken about also it’s actually uh the language barrier broke down when the international content was getting viewed by us dubbed in Hindi or English I think what will happen is that from a Content perspective business of content is going to take over the era of explosively expensive content is over OTS are going to become more of content publishing places rather than customer acquisition places because as digital is growing your customer acquisition cost and have been saying this for the longest period of time has gone through the roof.
Mehul Ashar:- Hello ladies and gentlemen welcome to yet another episode of The Growth Genius where we bring to you growth stories in marketing and business this is powered by InfiDigit the SEO specialists in today’s episode we have a growth genius who has given us so many insights in our previous Seasons that we asked her to come again on the season 3 of the TGG as we call it she is a Powerhouse in marketing and she has been across various Industries at the helm of marketing where she has delivered phenomenal results in her career right now she is in a very exciting space and that is the reason why we thought she will be of tremendous value to our viewers in this episode so without further Ado please join in welcoming Miss Divya Dixit who is now an adviser to multiple businesses in growth and strategy thanks Divya for coming on to the growth genius we are truly honored to have you on the show and it’s always a pleasure to interact with you so thanks a lot for your time.
Divya:- Thank you Mehul thank you so much to you and Infidigit for inviting me to Growth Genius and I’m really looking forward to an exciting chat let’s go.
Mehul:- Wonderful so Divya I wanted to understand you know your career has transitioned across Industries you have been in Telecom you know you have been in entertainment and digital as well you know which is your 4 now you know tell us something about your journey?
Divya :- Okay so see I when I there’s nothing planned about my journey so first I want to be very honest somebody will think that you know she planned a lot I never did I started my career at a point of time when retail was the most upcoming thing right and I thought I’m possibly going to make my career in retail as a sunrise industry did it for about 8 years moved on to husband got a job in Bombay so completely unplanned moved moved to entertainment s Entertainment Television because I was very very bored by retail by them I also think uh I have switched a lot of Industries which I’ll talk about now when I tell you how the career moved also because I think I’m a very curious person and I like to know of new things I get bored of what you already know because there’s so much you can do in one space so I thought when I landed in Bombay that I had already done in enough in detail I had couple of offers one from future one from Sony Entertainment and I thought it was time for me to switch Industries moved on to Sony Entertainment broadcast worked there then worked with UTV Ronnie launched UTV Business News Channel with him then moved on to work with star because at that point of time they were rebranding and relaunching channel we they had seen my work at UTV they called me they said we’re excited if you can do some work with us so I worked with them then I think brought also I got a little bored of because there’s so much a marketing person can do in broadcast right and um my ex from Barista was actually launching a telecom firm with tatas and he gave me a call saying would you like to launch a telecom brand and I said why not though uh you know for all my excitement it was a big challenge because there were at that point of time there were about 12 GSM players already existing in the market that was the era when you know aircel and all these ch ch compan region wise had taken the licenses and set up shops right but Tata tokomo was going to be a national brand with multiple you know circles and I was quite excited about learning it so went on there did some good work over there our challenge was how to get people to come onto T too and already the cream was divided between atel V uh you know and the rest of the players so we launched a proposition called payer second while the entire industry was charging people per minute it that got a huge huge growth and from Telecom then I moved on to do music so I handled sunburn uh the Young music brand for quite some time I also worked with sarama so these are two critical industries that I truly loved working in sunburn was more of a youth brand with you know Wings across events live music merch artists whereas sarama was more on the publishing side so I’ve seen that part of the business as well I think but music could only interest me so much and you know with sunburn I was getting into this young mindset and speaking to the young audience and as we all know yeah the word has become younger you may age but your minds are becoming younger and which is exactly what I call younger mindset marketing so I said what is evolving in media what is the next step do I go back to broadcast or do I just look at something else and dig happened right and i’ already got a taste of it in t Doo because we were the first ones in the country to launch 3G and my boss had put me in charge of doing content acquisition fees for 3G so there was already something germinating in my mind saying listen if bandwidth has to be consumed if Broadband has to happen then if they are going to use content as a bait which means digital content has a scope and then La Eco came my way which is a huge Chinese firm which is into the content ecosystem basically producing content movies also they have their own set of businesses in laptops TVs and mobiles there were a huge firm in China One of the biggest leading firms in content ecosystem in China they were launching in India and they were looking for a GM marketing and I joined them I had a great time with them but then they went bankrupt unfortunately because they try to spread their wings too fast in US and Russia which are very iPhone markets from there I moved on to launch Z5 and from Z5 after launching Z5 for a couple of years I moved on to work with ALT Balaji worked with old bology for four and a half years grew the business and I guess after doing digital for such a long time I think I’ve gotten addicted to it I love the pace I love the momentum I get a huge dopamine kick out of seeing the numbers grow what happened at that point of time was my daughter had grown up she was moving out of home home to leave for Canada and leave for further studies which means I needed desperately needed these four months with her to be with her because I’ve always been a working mom took a break but in a way that was also good because I ended up working with multiple firms as a consultancy right so I I consulted with a us- based firm uh quickly which is into South Asian food delivery services I worked with them for about 8 nine months help them grow their business expanded into b2c B2B super excited they in fact gave me a full-time offer as well but I think at that point of time I was still figuring whether I want to be in consultancy or I want to go back full-time and then I did consultation with actually quite a few platforms namely uh one which is itap which I’m still working on which is run by Kunal Das Gupta which is into the business of content and gaming uh I work with them as a POS CEO then I I worked with Stage winen for part Partnerships and for growth Strat I also worked a lot with producer Bazar which is into movies aggregation platform plus I also work with a couple of smaller apps Consulting them on strategy and growth so yeah this is what I’ve been doing uh it’s been enjoyable it’s been a great journey I think the advantage of doing consultation has been that I’ve been able to put my hands into various things rather than you know sticking to one thing but I’ll be very honest sometimes I do miss a structured you know life of 9 to age in fact at Balaji it was never 9 to age it was 24×7 365 days but I do miss structured life and I would love to go back to it.
Mehul:- Pretty exciting in terms of you know how your journey has been and you know this brings me to the next question you know you are actually in a very exciting space where you are working with startups you are working with a lot of people uh you know in the digital space so I would like to understand your current role if you can you know to elaborate a bit on that would be fantastic?
Divya:- Okay so currently like I said I’m strategically Consulting with various people right so in terms of strategic consultation I work directly with the founders the basic step begins with first sitting with them and understanding what their issues are what their troubles are because if I don’t understand what their issues are and what is is it where they want to take it right it is impossible for me to advise them at times we’ve had such detailed discussions and I take at least a week to 10 days to understand the entire them because what happens is there are times that we’ I have advised Founders to change their thought process see it’s up to them they’re the founders right it’s their firm it’s their platform but there are certain people who I have requested either to modify what is it the path that they walking to achieve a certain Milestone or I have been Frank enough to tell them listen this is not going to work out and this is where you need to be so that process itself takes away at least 7 to 10 days the next step for me as a strategic advisor consultant is to actually sit with them and work on a detailed deck and a proposition for them once we agree to that from there flows the entire operational strategy so while I do this I also work extensively with their teams to ensure that whatever that we discussed whatever is being spoken about is also getting executed so largely my um and then of course there are very clear kras soft kras hard kras that I you know we discuss and we agree with where we want to see a certain growth momentum whether it be numbers Partnerships whether it be in terms of social media strategy marketing or whatsoever that it may be so that’s how typically my role currently is.
Mehul:- So starting from Zee to alt you have been in the OTT space and you know we would love to understand what your outlook is as far as OTT is concerned because uh you are one of the best persons we know uh who know a lot about OTT I in fact recently read your article on Dean Chronicle as well which actually talks about you know how OTT is now becoming Global and you know language is not such a barrier per se so you know if you could tell us more about you know what you think about OTT that’ll be fantastic?
Divya:- So okay let me say this OTT is developing in a two parallel stream right now right so we’ve started this journey or rather I started this journey in this industry when OTT was not even the Mainstay entertainment right nobody knew OTT so when we were launching when I was with Theo and we were thinking of launching OTT platform people used to say what is OTT what what does it do like my family wondered what I was doing right uh at Z5 things had moved up a little bit Hotstar was there already in the play and you know Amazon Netflix were also there so at least with Z5 there was this discussion in terms of okay these people have taken up these spes now where is Z5 going to fit in and at that point of time at Z5 we came up with the fact that listen when you’re angry when you’re upset when you’re super excited you want to speak in your language Engish and therefore we coin the term right from Z5 and the fact that Z has entertainment as a group had so many languages we decided we’ll launch in multiple languages I think Regional started taking off from there it was actually Z5 that started pushing out Regional content on OT prior to that if you look at Amazon, Netflix, Hotstar they were all very Urban Focus right so that journey Z5 kicked off and then came Al baji which said listen Hindi and then started all your ho Choice stage chopal of The Works kacha laka said a you’re doing Hindi but then there is so much of my consumer Mas which is unserved or underserviced with good content so I think OTTT is now exploding in two ways very clearly which is basically the urban audience and the regional audience and then of course people like me sitting in between that tend to consume everything but what I strongly feel and which is what I have written and spoken about also it’s actually uh the language barrier broke down when the international content was getting viewed by us dubbed in Hindi or English right so Korean Spanish Mexican Turkish Z had been running Turkish channels for such a long time D in Hindi and women base was the biggest and I know that because I we we shut it down on broadcast and we launched it on Z5 and that entire base immediately shifted to Z5 right that was one of the strategies we had to actually get more people to engage with Z5 so I think it’s that part which sort of exploded the idea and people said listen if we can accept International fent dubbed in Hindi why can’t we accept other regions fent from India dubbed in Hindi it is I mean and box office is absolute testimony to the fact you look at a RRR you look at a Jailer you know you look at a Pushpa these are all Blockbusters right also what is going to happen I think now is while the language barriers are broken down and things are going to get D subtitled and this osmosis is going to be both ways so Hindi will get watched dubbed in their language for example Shahruk Khan movie currently right I was just in Chennai and I saw his movie posters and holdings written in Tamil right so that osmosis is going to happen both ways this is going to be reflective more so on OTT because somehow people are moving from broadcast and coming on to OTT more it’s the main State also I think what will happen is that uh from a consent perspective of business of content is going to take over the era of explosively expensive content is over so very big platforms will now be able to possibly afford one or two series like that in a year I mean cetadale is under question mark right now right that where did all that money go so that era is over Hotstar is already commissioning series in a long format with you know cost amortised over a certain amount I know that alt is commissioning subsidies as well so that era of OTT demanding 780 lakh rupees per episode is over now it’s it’s it’s gone it’s it’s going to be possibly the broadcasting rates per episode which is now going to come in play which is five-six lakhs per episode that’s the era which is coming in because which basically means otd is becoming main State and therefore cannot ex because you need to buffer up your library you need to make that money work more for you also I believe what is going to happen is OTTs are going to become more of content publishing places rather than customer acquisition places because as digital is grown your customer acquisition cost and I’ve been saying this for the longest period of time has gone through the roof right it’s become double triple because there are so many apps fighting in the same space so obviously your Google FB and the other publishing inventories have gone through the roof so which is where aggregation and business Partnerships step in right so whether it’s with Telecom firms like Jio Voda-Phone or Airtel or whether it is in Partnerships with various Broadband aggregators or it is in Partnerships with uh your typical aggregators like OTT play and uh Tata play I think OTT platform slowly and steadily except for the top four of them four or five of them will be highly dependent on these aggregations and business Partnerships and will be very very conservative with customer acquisition directly so you still have consumers but they come possibly more through Partnerships also I think it’s time for OTT platforms as a strategy to work on the organic growth uh because as you become mainstate which is what happened to broadcast also right when you become Mainstay your organic growth should be much more as an industry if you are becoming Mainstay entertainment your organic needs to be much higher you cannot completely be dependent on inorganic also content I think you will again have two parallel streams because India is still very much a mobile country so people will still consume content and you know we are very particular about a culture so if anybody wants to see 365 days or 50 Shades of Gray or Gandhi bath you’re still going to watch it on mobile or alone on your laptop right you’re not going to sit with your family and watch it on the television but because OTTs is now become main state for example I have a home of three television sets we don’t have Channel connection anywhere we are completely now on uh otds right and the family time typical family time is one hour of watching something together every night and that has to be either drama Thriller crime political shows so I’ve been saying this for the last two years that content itself will evolve into two different streams genre wise as well as postive business wise and I can see that very much happening right now also uh like I’ve been saying OTT platforms will really truly have to figure out innovative business models so whether it’s t sward award uh or uh any other kind of Co production Partnerships Etc or whole marketing Partnerships Etc that they need to do to stay a flat they need to start thinking like that because like I’ve been saying this is a great time to be in the content production business but difficult time with 60 plus platforms floating around to be the OTT business.
Mehul:- Divya that’s very interesting you talked about uh you know growing organically and that is what we do at infid digit in fact we grow your reach through organic search so it actually urges me to ask another question to you as you know how you reach out to people organically or otherwise or you know in general how do you get your consumers to get onto your platform uh what is your take on that?
Divya:- Super organic piece typically there are multiple strategies that one tends to use right so of course social media is one of them uh because those are critical today everybody’s on Insta Facebook is dying to a certain extent but the young audience is all shifted to insta then of course Twitter which has been rebranded as X because there’s a certain intellectual audience that still goes over there right and it’s great for seeding controversy so social media platforms then you have of course your public relations team which does a great job of spreading the word and then comes down the fact that you’re looking at two things critically for driving organic one thing is your engagement platforms right so something like a web engage or whatever that one might be using and of course the other fact is the artificial intelligence and the data analytics and the Machine learning that you’re going to use which you implement wire tools at the back end and then you start spreading the word across your audience right the third thing is the search engine optimization right which you typically need to start as a longtail and short tail activity longtail activity for the platform and for your biggest selling keywords and short tail activity for the products that you’re launching one by one in fact I believe infid digit also is very very good in the seop p and I have always said that SEO is one of the most critical things if you need to get your engagement and organic high and also your brand repute and your website repute right so these are critical activities that get covered and organic traction starts pulling in.
Mehul:- Right so you talked about AI you know can you elaborate a bit more in terms of you know what is your take on AI?
Divya:- So like I’ve been saying AI is something which takes two things it takes width of data and depth of data right and AI is slabbed upon machine learning so first the machine has to start learning people speak about Ai and ml in the same breath I always say know it first has to be machine learning and then AI will come on top of it so the machine learns if if my backend for example let’s say I am an OG platform and I’m launching products I’m targeting audiences I’m getting assembling data data viewers history transaction watch time Etc right that’s that’s my machine learning happening that’s the data gathering at the back end slowly and steadily my platform if I have a recommendation engine which is built in that machine learning will get slapped upon by artificial intelligence and will’ll start asking the consumer listen did you like it and if you liked it you need to rate it because then I’ll recommend more to you right so in these terms of AI ML that’s one part which is the consumer interface or even the AI of the chatbot that you can incorporate in the OT platform so the AIPs that you can uh incorporate even in the chatboard or in your consumer interface or the fact that when I login right uh the machine automatically decks my VPN and automatically showcases certain languages right that is so convenient how do you make the consumer interface easier that’s why you need to use the AIMLPs of course the fact that you also work with AIML on great consumer experience in terms of non- buffering because ideally your machine or AI should be able to indicate that listen the consumer is in such an area and we need to automatically put that stream onto that in two ways a not too much of his data is consumed and he gets a non- buffering experience right the last but not the least is of course the AIMLPs that you end up using in your marketing techniques right which typically you depend a lot on Google and FB right the Google algorithms the FB algorithms how to reach out to the consumer and uploading your database over there so I think Ai and ml has a very active role to play in OTT platforms it all depends on you know where all do we want to leverage but I have always told this to Founders that don’t expect a ml to play a part till you have a certain width and depth of data.
Mehul:- Yeah that’s very nicely put Diva you talked about ML and AI so obviously you know these are two different things that people need to know the ML comes first and then you know you have the A on top of that which actually helps you you know Drive growth and uh this is something that I would like to you know ask you in terms of what do you think about AI per see?
Divya:- Actually one thing I forgot Ai and ml we’ve also used in order to create a predictive technology so my machine will give me a certain amount of data on certain genre of stores and if I’m launching that show the same genre of show then we actually worked on a predictive engine which AI would look at all the ml learning in the past and then predict saying listen on day one it’ll be this on day two it will be this on day three it will be this so that’s also something we developed in house.
Mehul:- Wow so you can actually you know go at a granular level.
Divya:- Yes yes yes it’s possible.
Mehul:- Amazing amazing D and I think one of the last questions that I would like to ask you is you know if you can highlight any growth stories that come to the top of your mind you know from your illustrious career you know which is actually out there which you would like to share along with the insights that you got from these growth stories that would be really nice?
Divya:- I think uh the one of the best growth stories honestly I had is of B uh and I’ll tell you why because a it’s relevant in this discussion and it’s the most recent when I joined all it was at 7even CR right and we were the sharpest smallest platform uh you know I’d come from Z where the content budget was some 2,500 CR perom and my marketing budget was some 250 CR and all of a sudden you walk into an alt and the content budget is you know 100 CR 125 CR peram and the marketing budget is some 25 CR and now now you’re wondering how to make this work because uh the promoters were very clear that they don’t want to look like a small app at any point of time the growth has to be like a Netflix Amazon Z5 hot star and you know money excuse can never be an issue right in fact I could not I was advised never to discuss that in meetings with board or with the promoters so I think one of the insights that I have from there uh is that it’s the easiest thing to do is spend money and do marketing or make content it is only when you have zero money or very less money your creative juices start flowing and you start you know saying what do I do right now what do I do you have two things happening a you interact more and more with your team right because you want fresher ideas because you know you have just this much resource pool and and everybody’s going to fight for it so you challenge all your teammates and you say listen I’m only going to give you this much but this is what has to be achieved now tell me how you’re going to do it so everybody’s creative juices are flowing a lot everybody’s out in the market talking to various people so your network is expanding as a platform as a team right so that’s a great growth Insight because you’re picking up the phone and talking to various people and Brands and partners and not just vendors and agencies and saying you’re not doing that right you’re actually for example my brand manager is actually talking to let’s say a Tinder and saying listen we are launching a show and we would love to partner with you because you know she doesn’t have the money to buy inventory but she can bought something so that’s that’s another inside you also learn to be extremely conscious about your return you know the fact that for example I as a as a business head I had a very clear mandate uh money spent great fantastic acceptable these are your yearly budgets great but my yearly budgets would never be approved till I could put together a yearly Revenue sheet which was actually two and a half times off my yearly budget right so you learn to work in adversity and you learn to work very sharp also I think great content the last insight that I have from there of course I’m very thankful to them for making me a business person the last Insight I have from there is that great content if marketed well right and smartly need not have great budgets on marketing or production it’s it’s a great Art of Storytelling of course you need certain Aesthetics and everything but if the story is great the treatment is great if you’ve got the right twists and the plots and everything happen it’s all right the product will work of course the fact that uh alt also happened at a point of time that you know OTT Market was exploding and masses were still looking for a lot of Hindi Mass content and we should have managed to fill that space and the last Insight was that OTT growth is going to come out of mass it’s not going to come out of urban India any longer.
Mehul:- Yeah that was that was quite revealed and I mean it was like the writing on of all that you know if you have to grow then you’ll have to reach out to that class of audience per se right?
Divya:- Correct which is exactly why I told you we took the line of mascot we said Till now OTT has been a privilege for our people but Al is here to massify it for everybody.
Mehul:- And you know you talked about your transition you know you actually became a professional entrepreneur so to say when you worked at alt and that actually gave you a lot of insights in terms to you know how you put on the businesswoman hat and then you know think of you know how it is impacting my and right so there’s a very direct correlation which?
Divya:- Very well said mul actually yes very well said I will forever be grateful to Old for giving me that ground training.
Mehul:- So according to you how has the role of a marketeer changed over the years you know Al?
Divya:- So marketeer I think the biggest transition which has happened for a marketeer is that it’s no longer about you know just getting budgets and spending money and putting up uh campaigns I think marketer has now become more answerable for what is the value you’re bringing to the business so marketers are now becoming very Roi conscious marketers are being questioned in various meetings and that’s how I think also marketer is no longer a CMO a marketer is more like a CMDO which is a Chief marketing digital officer right because he needs to be absolutely knowing because today digital is the main medium he needs to absolutely know what he’s going to do with his money where he’s going to put in so much Innovation but so much return on investment has to happen and I think that’s the best story actually to happen because I think it also gives a certain joy and pride to a marketer to not become a cost center but also be a revenue earner right there’s a certain Joy over there and I think a marketer is now looking at the marketer role or the marketer is now looking at various ways on how to improvise how to cut budgets and how to do more of organic work so that’s how Everything’s changed to balance out the ROI nation.
Mehul:- True very right very right on I would say spot on as far as you know defining the new age uh marketeer is concerned you know cmdo should probably be the new nomenclature in corporate world?
Divya:- New title correct?
Mehul:- So you know before we sign off I wanted you to share since you are working with a lot of startups you are working with you know these youngsters who actually are you know on The Cutting Edge of digital marketing and digital per se they are in the on The Cutting Edge of digital so any four takeaway that you would like to share for you know budding marketers or budding professionals from your experience?
Divya:- I don’t know if have BS of wisdom but I do have something that I have learned along my journey a I would say um be flexible be open to Taking Chances at times changing Industries uh or you know changing your profile may seem like will I be able to do it will I be able to excel I would advise you to take chances I would also say be quick quick on feet right especially for marketers today in this ever evolving landscape if you’re going to debate things too much if you’re going to wait for Perfection it’s just going to endlessly stretch things and the moment may have gone for example a moment marketing moment right you your social media team doesn’t slap it out at that point of time the moment is gone it’s over and I think amul is one great example of moment markting the other thing which I advise all the young professionals to do is learn it’s okay to make mistakes don’t be hesitant of doing something because you think you might fail it’s all right because if it works it’s great it’s in your favor if it fails then you know what not to do next time right but at least you’ve done something you’ve understood something and this is what I always advise my team to keep certain amount of budgets or certain amount of uh work for Innovations because still you don’t do you won’t know and the last piece that I have for marketers is collaboration in today’s world as a marketer if you don’t collaborate if you don’t work across Industries with various partners with various people your marketing is not going to be effective you can’t just keep buying marketing industries.
Mehul:- Thank you thanks a lot Divya it was an insightful session and you know we got some wonderful insights which people who are going to see the podcast are going to really appreciate thanks a lot again for your time and being on the growth genius.
Divya:- Thank you thank you so much for having me here it was so enjoyable talking to you guys and thank you so much Mehul and Infidigit.
Mehul:- Ladies and gentlemen this brings us to the close of yet another episode of the growth genius where we bring to you stories of growth in marketing and business powered by infidigit the SEO Specialists Divya Dikshit’s journey is nothing short of exciting and the transition that she talked about in today’s episode uh of being a marketeer and now being a professional entrepreneur where we see that a marketeer today is not just talking about being a cost center but actually being transitioned into a driver of growth that is the kind of Journey that we saw today and it actually has inspired me a lot as well I hope you like this episode and the content that we put on the grow genius platform keep subscribing liking and sharing our content so that you spread the word across we are available on all social media handles and we are also available on all audio handles and the link to all of them are given below so till the next episode of The Growth Genius keep learning keep getting inspired and take care thank you.
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