In a keynote session at the iStream Congress 2021, the director of YouTube content partnerships at Youtube India, Satya Raghavan highlighted what the next 10 years will look like for the binge watching segment and spoke about the type of content that creators should focus on and what sort of changes audiences are likely to see.
He started by putting the notion that ‘binge is not possible on television’ to rest and stated that binge is actually an unrestrained and often excessive indulgence. “Binge eating is something that we all would have done at some point of time or the other. It’s perhaps in our nature,” Raghavan said.
Binge watching is often associated with OTT platforms like Netflix and Raghavan explored the reasons as to why people binge watch. “One of the reasons we binge watch is because we seek instant gratification,” he said. He added that it is also because of the hedonistic needs like entertainment, engagement, and relaxation.
Raghavan explained the rapid speed at which India is changing as a consumption market also affects the entertainment consumption patterns. “In the 1990s and till a few years ago, the entertainment needs of Indians were very homogeneous. And when you say the word homogeneous, it’s to imply everything that people did was very similar. They either consumed a soap on TV or a soap on TV, they either watched T20 or watched a T20. They either watch Sooryavansham or they watch Sooryavansham again, very, very homogeneous, but not today,” he explained.
Today, we are at the center of a massive revolution, characterised by the changing needs of entertainment, information and even learning, shared Raghavan as he spoke about how today we have moved far away from the homogenous to a mystical world of heterogeneity.
Speaking of binging with a purpose, Raghavan said, “If you watched all episodes of your Netflix shows or your Amazon Prime shows, then you know that you’ve definitely binge watched. But these are just some of the obvious things that you saw. Some of you saw a video that will help you write the UPSC entrance examination. Some of you saw a video on evaporation. Some of you saw a video on improving seed quality and agricultural video. Some of you perhaps saw a video on how to fix a broken bicycle chain. And chances are you just didn’t watch one video. You watch too many videos on how to do well in the UPsC examination. So things have changed a little bit. You binged, but you binged with purpose.”He also pointed out how earlier binging habits were a little random. “You stumbled on something, you liked it, then you watched more of it, and you continued watching. But a whole lot of you today are bingeing with purpose with an aim in mind. And that is extremely, extremely interesting,” he added.
Adding to bingeing for instant gratification, Raghavan said we binge watch to satisfy our own cravings as well. He spoke about internet connectivity in today’s time and said, “If you look at the Internet today, the cup is half empty, or half full depending on which way you look at it. Now, depending on which report you read, there are at least over 500 million Indians connected to the internet, some of the reports will be even higher. And a lot of these reports are predicting an amazing future for internet connectivity.”
Raghavan said that video is turning out to be the primary gateway to the internet. “I can vouch for this for sure. As I can see the reach and consumption that happens on YouTube on a daily basis, it is just staggering. I often say that the language of YouTube is your mother tongue, you can see content in every possible Indian language being created and consumed today. The inherent nature of consumption on YouTube and platforms like that is also radically different than it was to TV,” he said.
“With over 500 hours of content being uploaded every minute on YouTube, our collective lifetimes are not enough to binge all of it. But binge we must and bing we will. And this is reflective of how the broader internet, other platforms beyond YouTube also exactly behave,” said Raghavan.
Raghavan shared some clues about what the future holds for us in this context. “Clue number 1 is people love the internet. People love YouTube. People love platforms like YouTube, it is setting them free. It is empowering them. Clue number 2 is anyone can create content today. You just have to pick up the phone and you can create great content. People are watching 15 second dance videos on YouTube shops and other short form video platforms. And they are watching 30 minute explainers on the different variants of Coronavirus,” he shared.
Raghavan’s third clue said that every market is big or small. Every city, town and village will be connected to the internet in the next few years. The fourth clue spoke about language and highlighted that language is no barrier for either creation or consumption and clue number five says that no topic under the sun is too big or too small or unimportant. People have an amazing capacity to experiment and consume different kinds of content.
“All of these clues should help you actually create content for a billion bingeing Indians, which they will binge on like there’s no tomorrow,” Raghavan concluded.