OTTs struggle with subscriptions as new payment rules take effect

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NEW DELHI : Subscription streaming (OTT) and news media platforms are grappling with new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rules requiring user authentication at the start of the month.

The rules could prove onerous for new users, especially those in older generations or in semi-rural areas who may not be tech-savvy, platform executives and analysts say. media.

There could be a drop in service renewal and new registrations, especially after seasonal content such as the Indian Premier League or the T20 World Cup ends, they said. Many people see entertainment as a luxury and not a priority and this could make the crisis worse.

The actual numbers cannot be known until the end of a quarter, but the downward trend has started, as have cases of fraud with many entities trying to take advantage of lost and disoriented customers.

Under the new rules, all recurring transactions require additional authentication. For the above payments ??5,000, a one-time password will need to be validated by the customer each time a payment is due and although monthly OTT service plans are much cheaper, automatic payments still require customer approval once. that an alert has been sent.

“While the RBI’s decision may have been aimed at ensuring more transparency, it is certainly a tedious process and only time will tell if we can all come up with robust mechanisms to make this happen transparently.” , said a senior executive at a streaming platform. .

The person admitted to having started messaging subscribers, but feared that they would see a drop in renewals and new additions soon.

Partnering with various payment gateways and offering subscribers multiple payment options and channels increases the chances that subscribers will join and stay on board, said Divya Dixit, senior vice president, revenue and marketing, ALTBalaji, who served associated with platforms such as MobiKwik, Paytm, Amazon Pay, PayPal and PayPoint India. “Communicating through channels like email marketing can ensure that dormant subscribers are reactivated as well. A platform should also be careful not to overuse reminders or notifications that could confuse or drive subscribers away, ”Dixit said. ALT has also informed its customers of the change in payment rules.

The first two months will need a definitive grip by the platforms, said Chandrashekhar Mantha, partner at Deloitte. “It all depends on how well their technical infrastructure is equipped and how they can handle grievances, because at least initially there will be no transactions,” Mantha said.

In the long run, this disruption will have a positive impact, as customers benefit from more flexibility, choice and transparency while playing a decision-making role in payment processing. However, there was a marked disruption in the market with the mandate taking effect in early October, said Ramesh Narasimhan, head of digital commerce at Worldline India, a company providing payment solutions for physical and online businesses.

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