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 past couple of years. The major reason behind this exponential growth is often attested to deeper internet penetration and ever-increasing smartphone usage. Nowadays there are many articles on OTT platforms written to read. It is easy, affordable, and can be used anywhere, anytime.
Cheaper and efficient data costs along with good connectivity have permitted both rural and urban populations to consume video content at an alarming rate.
Over-the-top or OTT platforms provide online content in different genres. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and ALT Balaji are some OTTs popular among Indians.
Over-The-Top Media Services in India
Netflix is 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 Rs.500 per month and goes up to Rs.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.
Hotstar is an another Over-The-Top Media Service in India. It is a Star Network product that launched in February 2015. It has swiftly become one of the largest video-on-demand platforms in the country. Hotstar is the only platform where the best TV shows from around the world, movie premieres, and live sports and events, are available on a single platform. Hotstar has some user-friendly features such as – an adaptive video playback experience which automatically adjusts with the bandwidth that is available, it allows users to download their favorite content and consume it on the go and lastly users can also create playlists of their favorite content and keep it all organized.
Sony LIV is one of the an over-the-top media service from the list of top OTT media services launched in 2013 which is developed by Multi-Screen Media. It is a mix of free and premium content and has partnered with SPI International in order to showcase seven more international television channels across different genres, in addition to the existing five. Its premium content comes at a subscription cost of Rs.99 per month. It offers viewers shows from the Sony stable – SONY, MAX, and SAB. Apart from enabling viewers to view current shows, Sony LIV will also allow subscribers to watch past episodes and movies, and special events.
A year after the launch of the biggie OTT player, Netflix – Amazon Prime Video launched in India. 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 on. India is a price-sensitive country and at it’s low priced subscription fee it gives the users great value for money.
ALT Balaji is an ad-free subscription-based service which is a 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 Rs.300 per year. With this platform, Balaji wants to venture into clutter-breaking content and have something for everyone. It is catering to the lack of content that is not only for Indian residents but also for 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 it’s fresh and new-age content without any premium cost, currently. One of the major attractions of the platform is its original content as it covers a plethora of categories be it 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 and create video content. These 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 it a universally accessible platform.
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, Hotstar allows a user to access some shows for free whereas other premium shows are charged for viewing. On the other hand, APV and Netflix allow a user 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 viewer. 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 remote and set-top boxes with you to enjoy your favorite video content. With the help of these OTT services, you can watch your favorite shows anytime and anywhere hassle-free. The convenience offered a strong point.
Limited And Quality Video Content
Unlike the Indian video content, these OTT platform services have series restricted to a limited number of episodes rather than going on for several years. This is what keeps the youth engaged in such platforms. Also, the content is not a cliche story, unlike the repetition of a theme 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 the platforms. The option of downloading from OTT providers allows the audience to not sit idle in case of poor internet connectivity.
Other small yet expanding biggest OTT platforms in India are Voot and TVFPlay. Youtube is also planning to launch its 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 6K crores. With such a huge user base and maximum smartphone consumers under the age of 35, OTT platforms will focus more on youth-friendly content. Another factor helping in this 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. Also, shows and movies in local languages (Telugu and Tamil an example) 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 youth, but 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 only 800MB is sufficient for the same movie in 480p quality. Thus, quality has improved and data consumption per minute has come down. People can now watch two movies at a go 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. So, OTT platforms must work on a framework to provide maximum benefits at minimum cost, a tough nut to crack but necessary to lure the Indian audience.
India is a huge and diverse market for OTT platforms, so offering different plans to cater to a diverse user base with different income levels is a solution for faster absorption and growth. Also, focusing more on Indian friendly content would be another plus point for OTT providers. For now, it can be said that India might drift towards these platforms from traditional TV, though television would continue to remain an important commodity in India. There still exists a section of the population that doesn't have access to smartphones or networks. Moreover, the older generation prefers television for any kind of viewing over OTT platforms.
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?
Over the Top (OTT) services refer to any type of video or streaming media that provides viewers access to movies or TV shows by sending the media directly through the internet.
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 6K crores. With such a huge user base and maximum 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 OTT platforms in India or over the top content services 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 at the request and to suit the requirements of the individual consumer.