The Rise Of OTT Platforms In India

The pandemic has led to a staggering 70% increase in the number of OTT subscribers

While the pandemic led to a nationwide lockdown for us all with a complete disconnect from the real world, it also gave us the time and opportunity to immerse ourselves in worlds that were not our own. We were invited into new worlds of entertainment through the sheer magic of technology in the form of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms.

Although the advent of OTT platforms began as early as 2008 in India, it was only when the bigger players in the streaming market like Netflix and Amazon Prime entered that the Indian audience grew attracted to this model of media consumption. However, the real OTT boom took place when most of the population were confined indoors due to the pandemic and the choice of entertainment was limited to indoor activities. In pre-pandemic era, the ability to access OTT platforms was considered a privilege and restricted more to the urban and middle to upper-class population. With the increase in the availability of low-cost internet data and affordable smartphones, OTT platforms and its content have become available to a larger audience. Further the availability of original Indian content on these platforms kept the audience hooked.

The Indian OTT market has been under rapid transformational growth, and the Digital India approach plays a substantial role in promoting the usage of these streaming platforms. With a population of nearly 1.35 billion, India is one of the youngest nations globally, with over 70% of its population under the average age group of 35. The average age group with an inclination to consume entertaining content is 18-35, which India has in abundance. With the arrival of streaming solutions, OTT platforms have become the future of India’s Entertainment and Media Industry.

Impact of COVID-19 on the OTT industry

It is estimated that an Indian user spends close to 11 hours on an average watching video content on OTT platforms, which is like 3 times more than what people watch globally. This shows that Indian users consume the mostly video content online. In addition, the number of people who subscribe for an OTT platform has increased by a staggering 70 per cent during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As even the Millennials’ are confined to their homes in the pandemic, there is a demand for diverse and quality content. Movie production houses with high-profile movies are knocking on the doors of OTT giants for releasing their films. As even businesses are going virtual, OTT streaming is the only solution to reach the clients, and there is a re-stratification of content models and distributions.

Driving factors of OTT platforms

With a steady rise in disposable income and an increasing demand by the young population for more streamlined video services, it has led to the popularity of OTT platforms. Other factors like the advancements in technology, globalization, lifestyle of consumers, and the evolution of generations

contribute to the growth of the OTT market. Currently, the pandemic has become the icing on the OTT cake by boosting its fame in every household. With more businesses looking to go digital and many small producers on the lookout for the right OTT platform to launch their films, there is a demand in the market like never before.

Rising Popularity of OTT Platforms

As our world is connected digitally with immense digital dominance, the rapid growth of OTT over other traditional TV platforms, and more than five crore people have switched over to OTT in recent times. The increase in online streaming channels is pushing for the product demand and thus accelerating the market growth. Cheaper data packages, budget-friendly prices of internet connectivity, COVID-19 pandemic, and the premium content quality are some attributes contributing to the immense popularity of the OTT platforms.

Indian OTT industry is brimming with local and international players such as Amazon Prime (13 million users), Netflix (11 million users), Hotstar (300 million users), and many more, witnessing heavy competition. The next revolution on OTT is to capitalize on the privilege of the revenues and Indian market shares.

Future of OTT Platforms

OTT platforms are set to grow against odds and breakthrough into the prime of the entertainment forte in India. However, the rise of OTT platforms does not mean a fall for the TV industry. TV and OTT platforms will grow side-by-side in the entertainment market. In the future, the focus will be on a rigorous digital penetration in the rural areas, with tier II, III and IV cities and towns fueling the next wave of dominance in the consumption of OTT.

Increasing advertisements and user subscriptions are generating steady revenues for the OTT platforms, and many budding OTT entrants are in the investment phase for a progressive future in the market. The lesser-known OTT platforms are setting the trend by producing in-house content such as original web series and stand-up specials to surpass the giants to garner customers’ attention instead of buying the digital rights for movies and shows. The future of the OTT platforms relies entirely on the study of their audience and their viewing habits. Putting the research into practice and producing the diversity of content will have them engrossed for future retention.

Currently, most OTT players provide single language video content. The key to success will be to cater to the needs of multiple language audiences on a single platform. Focusing strongly on lifting the language barriers and ensuring top-tier content of every genre, covering all regions will be key. Thanks to the OTT platforms, we don’t have to wait for tickets for the first-day shows or Friday releases as new content arrives on your home screen at your convenient access almost every day across different platforms. Players will be required to optimize their business models and strategies, frequently concentrating on driving effectiveness through collaborations and partnerships over their value chains.

In recent years, distributed OTT platforms and smart TV penetration have already changed how the world consumes content, particularly entertainment. The pandemic, as well as the ensuing lockdowns, accelerated the process significantly. The upcoming decade in this arena will most apparently belong to not only those with excellent original show or film but also the new-fangled technology, analytics, and user-friendly features. The streaming battle will ultimately empower the users and transform how they consume OTT content in the long run.

The Author is Sriram Manhoran, CEO & Founder, GudSho

Tags assigned to this article:

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.