Can Over-The-Top (OTT) TV be a reality in India?

It was the summer of 2002 when my love affair with Sex and the City blossomed. I was in a committed long distance relationship with the sitcom. I absolutely adored Carrie Bradshaw and I loved Samantha and her optimism. Unfortunately like any Indian love story, my love story had a villain in the form of the stone-aged Indian Television Industry; since Sex and the city wasn’t a mainstream soap it was available only on select channels where it was aired after 10pm. Back in those days the Indian television wasn’t as advanced as it now and it was the time when making a railway reservation physically was way easier than doing it on the internet.

I would religiously wait for the Sunday supplement of ‘‘The Telegraph’’ to know what had happened in the sitcom. I was kind of done with this waiting and I was about to break up when a friend of mine introduced me to the wonderful world of Over-The- Top TV in 2005. Over the Top (OTT) refers to video, television and other services provided over the internet rather than via a service provider’s own dedicated, managed IPTV network. Suddenly life was good and I had hope but honestly the hope died exactly 72 minutes later. I was trying to stream the episode and it took 72 minutes to just stream the first 15 minutes of the episodes.

As Carrie Bradshaw would say, ‘‘we are living in a world where no one has breakfast at Tiffany’s and no one has affairs to remember.’’ People are always on the move. The fact is OTT as a concept is lovely.  I wouldn’t want to be dependent on my television service provider’s timings to watch soaps and sitcoms. I would want to watch it on my i-pad per my convenience and OTT lets me do that. It would have been all hunky dory if I was born in the USA or may be the UK but I was born in India. We are still living in an age of ‘’Buffering’’. Indian online ecosystem lacks the needed infrastructure, broadband is in a pathetic state, the internet penetration is less than 16% and online commerce is still in a nascent phase in the Indian market and regulatory delays are not new to any of us.

I feel over-the-top television can be a reality in India eventually with time but the following factors are working against it at the moment:

  1. India has the 2nd largest population in the world (~ 1280 Million) but the internet penetration in India is just 16% and the average speed is less than 2mbps. This is rather disappointing.
  2. Online Payment is still an issue. The credit system isn’t as developed as the first world countries. The trust factor is not high and most of the times credit card payments do not go through. This has led to an increase in Cash on Delivery and Pre paid recharge cards.
  3. Content is the king when it comes to the success of any Over-The-Top television. In India, there is a lot of delay in acquiring the rights and permission.
  4. India is a diverse market. Every state has its own language and television channels. This gives rise to an increase in content however the Over-The-Top providers have very dated content and hence they don’t have a big fan base.

However all is not lost and there is still hope. There are a few growing ISPs which provide fast internet at a reasonable cost.  For example ACT broadband provides internet speed up to 80 mbps. This is a positive change and will definitely increase the internet user base. A number of telecom companies like IDEA, Airtel and Aircell have introduced internet in the rural India. They have lucrative internet schemes for the price sensitive Indian consumers. With the advent of CC Avenues Citrus and Paytm online transaction has started gaining trust .But again Indian market is quite price sensitive. Is an Indian consumer who has access to a good broadband connection willing to pay to watch a movie? With unregulated content easily available over the internet through torrents and other p2p sharing methods we are still far from it. In an age of increasing D2H competition, can OTT providers put a compelling benefit for mass adoption? These are few questions and I don’t have answers to at the moment.

The optimistic side, the early adaptor side and the side to me which appreciates anything new does say that Over-The-Top (OTT) TV can definitely be a reality in India.



Yesterday, I was trying to make a list of relationships that I have been in so . Such a task is never a happy one for most but for me it was a pretty easy one. Well, I moved to a boarding school when I was 16 . Things weren’t easy for me. I always dreamt of being in a relationship with a nice guy who would understand me, laugh with me, do crazy things and just don’t bother about the world. Well, you see it’s not really easy to get such a guy especially when you are studying in a girls’ school! So being in that one relationship was a herculean task for me. Of course I would get to meet a lot of guys who would want to take me out for coffee and such relationships were short lived. I think I have attention span of a 3 year old, I can easily forget people ! I am easy that way. So here I am , turning 27 and making a list of all the relationships that I have been in so far:

i) The weird one – I think when you are 16, you wear your heart on your sleeve. I met this guy and thought he was adorable. Fell in love with him in a jiffy and fell out of it in exactly 5 months. Ha ha ha. Now that I think about it, I find it soo silly. I mean what was I even thinking? He was horrible, would treat me like a trash bag and never respected me  and my friends never approved of him. Thank God for drilling some sense in me and I decided to show him the middle finger and moved on.

ii) The Charming One- I met this guy one day, I thought he was ridiculous. I hated him. He would call me every night and we would speak for 2-3 hours. My friend was madly in love with him but he had absolutely no interest in her. I thought he was just a friend but I realised after few months that he loves me and I was honestly not in love with him. He is a very good friend and I know that he would take a bullet for me but I never thought that he was the one. He was a buddy.

While I was on this crazy journey, trying to find ‘THE ONE’ who is perfect for me I discovered a thing or two about myself.. I am the happiest  when I am with myself. I enjoyed being in my room, not talking to anyone and just watching television. I enjoyed the loneliness. I enjoyed going for a movie all by myself. I enjoyed going to a spa and for coffee all by myself. Relationships have a big impact on you. There are some which put you in a spot, there are some that are old and familiar, some which answer all your questions, some which make you get a partner visa and move to a different continent altogether but the most exciting relationship of all is the relationship I have with myself.And in this solitary journey I found the one who loved my madness and loved me just the way I am and that’s just fabulous.


Who has got the Time?

It took me exactly five months to write this. I had created this blog five months back but never really had the time to write something. Well, that’s the excuse I had in my mind. I have been wanting to do a lot of things but I never really did it as I never had the time.

After 24 years I have realised that my mum was right. I am plain LAZY and if I don’t want to do something then I tell people that I really don’t have the time for it as I am soo busy. Today while I was having my morning cuppa, my dad called my aunt and she was really upset as her family doesn’t have time for her and then all of a sudden I realised that – I don’t have the time is the real villain here.

I have come to realise that human beings are of 3 types:

i) Ambitious Nutcases- They are really busy achieving. They are never happy with what they have and always want more; more success, more money, more happiness. They never have time for anything. Trust me ANYTHING. It’s ok to be ambitious. There is nothing wrong with it but one should know where to draw the line. I was the ambitious one. I was never happy with what I had. I would put in extra hours and work hard/work smart but there came a time when I realised that I am done with it. Things happened and that was the wake up call. I shall write about it later, may be .

ii) Satisfied Genie- I love this second group. This is my favourite. They are really happy with what they have. They don’t complain, they take life as it comes and are satisfied. They take time off to do things they like. They don’t complain, don’t whine. They don’t say that they don’t have the time. My best friend is a satisfied genie and I am soo jealous of him/her. I was a satisfied genie after I moved back from UK. I was taking time off to do things I liked. I made time for myself but good habits are a bit difficult to maintain and I moved out of this phase as soon as I got a big career back and I was back to square one.

iii) Wuss/Confused Ninja – These are the people who know what they want but are not sure if that is the right thing for them. I think I am currently a confused ninja/wuss. I know what I want in life, I know the things I need to work on but I am scared to take the risk. I am scared to make the first move and every night when I go off to bed I know I have not done what I wanted to do and I have failed myself. It’s very difficult to take the first step and as you grow older it becomes more and more difficult.

Let me tell you a small story, there was a time when I was working 12 hours a day, I had no time for myself, for my husband and absolutely had no time for my mom and dad. I would speak to them everyday-may be 3 times a day but it was more like a list I was following. Then one fine day I realised that I am done with it and I quit my lovely job. I know a thousand people would kill to have this job but I just gave it up in one go. I didn’t think twice. I knew that it wasn’t worth the trouble I was going through and then one find day I packed my bags, booked my flight tickets and bought a book- EAT.PRAY.LOVE and traveled to Assam to do some soul searching. It’s been two months and I know what I want to do, things which went wrong but I am scared to make the first move. Guess, I have hurt myself too many times and I am scared to take the same road again. But I am done being a wuss. I am done feeling victimised. This phase needs to go. I need to have time for myself again. I need to do what I love and may be not always think about the consequences and most importantly I need to let go. I need to forget the past and move on with a smile and that is a work in progress right now.