Rise And Growth of OTT Services In India After Covid

The Indian media and entertainment industry is growing at a rapid pace. It is expected that the top 10 global list will soon enlist the Indian media and entertainment industry. The television segment accounted for the largest share in this market. However, OTT services included in the digital segment are all set for disruption and set to overtake the segment of print and films by the year 2025.

Though the OTT solutions are at a nascent stage, the services have been widely accepted in India. Online video providers see India as a great opportunity. The traditional OTT providers in India continue maintaining their presence in the market, while major broadcasters have also entered the market by making investments and launching their own OTT solutions. The price of satellite and cable is very low in India and this is a major hindrance for the OTT services, as this limits the revenues from subscriptions. Television has deep penetration in rural India and there is still a long way to go for OTT solutions before television gets completely replaced by digital content distribution.

OTT content is easy to download directly and can be viewed by the users on demand using the internet. The viewers can use any connected device like Personal Computers, tablets, smartphones, Smart TVs or gaming consoles.

Some of the major players in this segment are : Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Zee5, Voot, JioSaavn, Disney+Hotstar, ALTBalaji, Eros Now, MX Player, SonyLIV.

With these OTT solutions, Indian viewers no longer need to wait for blockbuster movies to release on the big screen. Earlier, even to watch a new episode from your favorite TV shows you had to wait for weeks, but not anymore. The OTT providers in India have completely transformed the way the Indian audience consumes digital content. The shrinking time gap between the release of a movie in theatres and its availability on OTT platforms is giving the OTT providers an edge.

Market Insights:

Today’s viewers have access to mobile data at low tariffs, internet at high bandwidth, and smartphones with the best technology. The urge and wish to consume content while on-the-go is growing rapidly and this has created a huge opportunity for the OTT providers in India. As per the reports, in the year 2019, in only 9 months, 30 million users from rural India accessed the internet for the first time. The video OTT market in India was valued at INR 42.5 Billion in FY 2019 and it is estimated to reach INR 237 Billion by FY 2025, growing at a CAGR of 33%.

The untapped market is beyond what can be captured by a handful of players and that’s the reason behind a high density of companies and startups in the OTT solutions space. As per Redseer, the consumption of online content in India grew by 35% in April relative to the consumption in January 2020.

A report by CII &Boston Consulting Group (BCG), quoted the average digital video consumption in India has doubled in the past two years. The report also said that the average time of content consumption by Indian has increased to 24 minutes from 11 minutes.

The active video OTT players in India are more than 40. There are 15+ music streaming players and 40+ podcast platforms. Content in regional languages is preferred by 30% of consumers.

Impact of the pandemic on OTT market in India:

During the nationwide lockdown imposed due to the COVID19 pandemic, OTT solutions witnessed surge in terms of number of subscribers and the volume of content consumed. With people restricted to their homes, there has been a tremendous growth in the consumption of media and entertainment. The pandemic became a trigger for a swelling appetite for content in the Indian viewers. To meet the surge in demand and limit congestion on internet, many OTT platforms like SonLIV, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Zee5, etc. decided to reduce the bitrate.

Here are a few highlights on how COVID19 has impacted the OTT providers in India:

  • After the announcement of lockdown, ALTBalaji reported addition of 17,000 subscriptions daily as against the pre-lockdown average of 10,600
  • As per the data on 16th April 2020, daily active users on Amazon Prime Video increased by 83% since the nationwide lockdown was imposed
  • Zee5 reported witnessing a viewership of 437.4 Mn in the post-pandemic world from March 2020 to April 2020
  • MX Player also witnessed a 2X increase in the time spent on content across various genres by Indian viewers

Strategic initiatives by OTT providers in India:

  • To create a more engaging experience for viewers, OTT platforms are experimenting with different forms of in-application activities. These could be games or contests that the viewers can play while watching a live video. Disney+Hotstar had established this trend in the 2019 IPL season, wherein a viewer could predict the score and play an in-app game to win prizes during a live match
  • There is a growing emphasis on creating regional content in both movies and web series space. This initiative will help the OTT solutions reach the niche regional audience across India. Traditional, as well as new and independent OTT platforms, are now investing in regional content creation
  • The OTT platforms are also innovating on the prices and subscription model. The major players are exploring different pack durations and sachet pricing to boost the subscriptions. Sachet packs are a great way to tap into the price-sensitive consumers by giving them quick access to content that they want and an opportunity to experience the platform

Data consumption in India is estimated to grow to 10,96,58,793 million MB in 2022 and it is a very safe assumption that OTT services providers in India will benefit significantly from this development. However, in a country where about 70% population resides in rural areas, OTT platforms cannot ignore this major chunk of the population for long. In rural India, issues related to internet connectivity and speed are very prevalent. If OTT players want to enter the rural Indian market, then they must learn from YouTube which supports low internet connectivity.