Gone are the days when TV or movie theaters were the only way to absorb online content. India has seen a tremendous rise in the consumption of video content on various platforms in the last couple of years. The major reason behind this exponential growth is often attested to deeper internet penetration and ever-increasing smartphone usage. Today, there are many articles on OTT platforms which justify why such mediums are better than cable TV. OTT (over-the-top) platform subscription is pocket-friendly, and then there's the comfort of using such platforms anytime, anywhere.
Cheap and efficient mobile recharge packages along with good internet connectivity have permitted both rural and urban populations to consume video content at an alarming rate.
OTT platforms provide online content in different genres. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and ALT Balaji are some extremely popular OTTs.
Over-The-Top Media Services In India
Netflix is one of the biggest over-the-top media services that ventured into India in 2015. It is a US-based video streaming company that is now available in India at a starting subscription price of INR 500 per month (and goes up to INR 800 per month) after a free month of trial. While most of the OTT service platforms follow a mix of advertising-led and subscription fee-based business models, Netflix, in keeping with its global strategy, is free of advertising in India.
Disney+ Hotstar is another over-the-top media service in India. It is a Star Network product that was launched in February 2015. Disney+ Hotstar has swiftly become one of the largest video-on-demand platforms in the country. Disney+ Hotstar is the only platform where the best TV shows from around the world, movie premieres, live sports, and events are consolidated. It has several user-friendly features such as an adaptive video playback experience which automatically adjusts according to the available bandwidth, the creation of playlists, and the availability of content for download. Users can consume Disney+ Hotstar content on the go with the best viewing experience.
SonyLIV is bound to be present in the list of the top OTT media services. SonyLIV was launched in 2013 and has been developed by Multi-Screen Media. It has a mix of both free and premium content and has partnered with SPI International to showcase seven more international television channels across different genres (in addition to the existing five channels). SonyLIV's premium content comes at a subscription cost of INR 99 per month. It offers viewers shows from the Sony stable – SONY, MAX, and SAB. Apart from enabling viewers to watch the latest shows, Sony LIV also allows subscribers to watch the re-runs of old episodes, movies, and special events.
A year after the launch of Netflix in India, Amazon Prime Video also made its entry into the country. According to the director of content at Amazon Prime Video (India), India accounts for the highest number of Prime members in the debut year, growing fastest among the 16 countries that the platform is present in. India is a price-sensitive country and at Amazon Prime’s low priced subscription fee, it gives the users great value for money.
ALT Balaji is an ad-free subscription-based service which is the product of film and television production house, Balaji Telefilms Ltd. It provides 32 original shows in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and Gujarati at a subscription price of INR 300 per year. With this platform, Balaji wants to venture into clutter-breaking content and offer something for everyone. It is offering entertaining video content to both Indian residents and those living abroad.
Voot is a video-on-demand platform that is a part of the digital arm of Viacom18. Viacom18 is one of India’s largest growing media networks. The platform provides its audience with a vast range of content choices and preferences. It has a pool of 45,000 hours of content which includes COLORS (Hindi), Viacom18 Motion Pictures, MTV, Nickelodeon, and MTV Indies. It offers the biggest TV Shows, Blockbuster movies, Toons, and VOOT originals.
Voot’s aim is to capture the digital video landscape with its fresh and new-age content without any premium cost. One of the major attractions of the platform is its original content while it covers a plethora of categories like dramas, comedies, spoofs, and everything else.
Reasons For Tremendous Growth In OTT Platform Usage
Freshly Brewed Content
OTT platforms provide brand new and freshly brewed content in different genres and languages. These platforms consider unique and risky concepts to create video content. The topics are a breeze of fresh air for Indians and deviate significantly from the video content people are used to. And such content doesn't fail to entice the audience. Language is no longer a barrier as there is video content for almost every language, making OTTs universally accessible.
Affordable And Cheap
Providers like Amazon Prime charge nominal rates at INR 999 per year (or INR 129 per month), thereby making video streaming affordable for most of the economical sections in India.
Screening Movies Before Television Screening
Movies are now being released on these platforms way before their television screening. Hence, people don't need to wait for movie ticket bookings and stand in long queues. Moreover, the concept of first-day, first-show is slowly losing its charm due to OTTs.
Free Subscriptions on OTT Platforms
Top OTT platforms lure the audience through the freemium subscription policy or by providing a free trial for a month. For example, Disney+ Hotstar allows users to access some shows for free whereas the premium shows are paid. On the other hand, APV and Netflix allow users to try their services for free during the initial months of subscription.
The shows on such platforms are usually ad-free, making it a pleasant experience for the viewers. Users don't have to see the same advertisement again and again and can enjoy the show without any interruption.
Video On Demand
Unlike TV, you don't have to carry a remote and set-top box to enjoy your favorite video content. With the help of these OTT services, you can watch your favorite shows anytime and anywhere.
Limited And Quality Video Content
Unlike the Indian video content, these OTT platform services have shows restricted to a limited number of episodes rather than going on for several years. The content keeps the youth addicted to such platforms. Also, the content is not a cliche story, unlike the repetition of themes in TV-based video content.
Download And Watch Later
OTT services don't maintain any particular time slot for shows and series, unlike TV. This permits people to have their own schedule for watching on such platforms. The option of downloading from OTT providers allows the audience to not sit idle in case of poor internet connectivity.
Other smaller (yet expanding) OTT platforms in India are Voot and TVFPlay. YouTube is also planning to launch an original content platform.
Growth And Future Of OTT Platforms In India
According to a recent PWC report, smartphone penetration in India is expected to grow around 99% by 2022. And at the same time, OTT platforms are expected to grow at a CAGR of 22% by 2022 to around INR 6000 crores. With such a huge user base comprising a large number of smartphone consumers under the age of 35, OTT platforms will focus more on youth-friendly content. Another factor helping in the tremendous growth of OTT platforms in India is the rising level of disposable incomes, i.e., an average Indian consumer can spend more amount on his enjoyment today as compared to a few years back. Shows and movies in local languages (Tamil and Telugu are some examples) have attracted people from various fronts to these platforms; the reason being unlimited movies and shows in their mother tongue at dirt cheap rates.
It's not that such platforms have content only for the youth; they offer something for the kids, the elderly, and every other age group.
Internet data consumption per minute has also come down. Sometime back, streaming a two and a half hour movie required 1GB of data for 360p quality. Nowadays 800MB is sufficient for the same movie in 480p quality. Thus, the streaming quality has improved and data consumption per minute has come down. People can now watch two movies by consuming just 1 GB or 1.5 GB of data.
Price also plays a dominant factor; Amazon Prime Video (APV) saw a larger user base than Netflix in 2016 because of this factor. APV charges INR 129 per month for unlimited access while Netflix charges INR 800 for its premium quality content. So OTT platforms must work on a framework to provide maximum benefits at minimum cost, a tough nut to crack but a necessary one to lure the Indian audience.
India is a huge market for OTT platforms, so offering different plans to satisfy a diverse user base with different income levels is the only solution for faster absorption and growth. Focusing more on Indian-friendly content would be another plus point for OTT providers. For now, it can be said that Indians will continue to drift towards these platforms, though television would still remain an important commodity in India. There still exists a section of the population that doesn't have access to smartphones and internet. Moreover, the older generation prefers the television over OTT platforms for entertainment.
What is OTT platform in India or what is over the top media services?
Over the top (OTT) refers to film and television content provided via a high-speed Internet connection rather than a cable or satellite provider. Viewers who dislike paying for bundled content are often referred to as cord-cutters.
Is Netflix an OTT platform?
Yes, Netflix is a popular OTT platform.
Is YouTube an OTT platform?
Over-the-top (OTT) video viewers: Individuals who watch the video via an app or website that provides streaming video content and bypasses traditional distribution. Examples include HBO Now, Amazon Video, Netflix, YouTube Red, and SlingTV.
What is the future of OTT in India?
Future of OTT in India: A rise of OTT platforms in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22% by 2022 to around INR 6000 crores. With such a huge user base comprising a large number of smartphone consumers under the age of 35, OTT platforms will focus more on youth-friendly content.
What are the top 10 OTT platforms in India?
Here are the Top 10 OTT platforms in India:
- Amazon Prime Video.
- Disney+ Hotstar.
- Sony LIV.
- MX Player.
- ALT Balaji.
- Eros Now.
What is the meaning of OTT?
OTT full form and meaning: OTT (over-the-top) is a means of providing television and film content over the internet on request.