The online video market in India today is one of the largest growing markets and it is estimated that it will be close to 500 million online video viewers by the end of financial year 2022. This will make it the 2nd biggest market in the world after China with OTT platforms contributing to a major portion of its growth. Did you know that in 2012 we had only 2 OTT platforms and today we have 30 plus OTT platforms that are continuously churning interesting contents? To name a few we have Zee 5, Sony liv, Hotstar , Prime now, Netflix and a whole list of others. As per reports, an average individual in India spends around 70 minutes watching videos on these platforms with a single session duration of 40 minutes. Do you think these OTT platforms are only viewed by the younger generation? Well, according to a survey people belonging to the age group of 37-50 years also spend about the same amount of time on these platforms. What is the kind of content people at the age of 25 to 50 really view on OTT platforms? The answer to this is Regional content which is the key for the OTT platforms trending today. Around 64% is the Hindi content on regional platforms while the rest percentage is divided between English and other regional languages. It has been seen that people have cut down DTH cables in their households. People have moved from DTH cables to fire sticks, Chromecast and to smart tv’s.
IMPACT OF OTT PLATFORMS ON CINEMAS
Cinema in India is considered next to religion as it binds people from all cast, creed, sex but the impact of emergence of OTT has been seen on cinemas and multiplexes as well. The convenience and flexibility extended by OTT platforms has given stiff competition to traditional cinemas. OTT apps have made it possible to watch movies in the comfort zone i.e. home. Also, the closing down of single screens and the advent of multiplex systems has deprived many movie lovers of their favourite pastime. OTT subscription provides many international television series and most of the bollywood movies within 8 weeks of release itself, hence saving the cost of millions of cinema spenders. It gives access to movies and shows from anywhere, at any time and for ‘n’ number of times. With the changing scenario, even the producers are releasing the movie online. This trend has been a cause of worry for the cinemas and multiplexes. Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that customers today have a platter full of options and freedom to choose as per their interest.
AFFORDABLE STREAMING OFFERS
The price manipulation strategy played a great role in the rise of OTT in India. Motivated by fierce competition and the low propensity of most Indian internet users to pay for subscription services, paid media streaming sites had to cut down on prices to entice new users to sign up for their considerably cheaper offers and to make users of different platforms switch. This has forced the overall prices of premium streaming services to drop significantly to affordable levels. This massive industry in India has been established with the help of cheap broadband, well-established film culture. A large number of english speaking population has also helped the case for the growth of OTT in India. Many internet services in India today generate the majority of their revenue from ads displayed on videos. Incorporating ads in their services, some streaming services are able to offer a freemium tier for its customers which makes most of its content available for free.
ARE OTT PLATFORMS TAKING OVER THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE?
Both mediums, for now, are holding on to their exclusivity with formats and the USP attached to it. Both of them serve the same type of content but the purpose and consumer variables are different. The emergence of OTT platforms has disrupted the entertainment sector. It is being propelled by the rise in the standard of living evolution of smartphones, ubiquitous and affordable internet connectivity coupled with increasing penetration in rural areas and changing preferences of the audience. Content is now king in a real sense, personalised and provides opportunity for wider focused distribution. It is noteworthy that several OTT players have been producing original shows and films besides offering live entertainment ,which has managed to capture eyeballs. The proliferation of OTT platforms has evoked apprehension of it being the death knell for theatrical experience. It is common to see certain films opting for the OTT route to reach out to the appropriate target audience. Video streaming platforms have certainly made watching movies affordable, convenient and available ‘on the go’, especially for those who prefer binge- watching. That said , going out of home to socialise and unwind by watching is still ingrained in social fabric in India. Moreover , gourmet food and an escapism experience as accompaniments to theatrical viewing makes it still attractive. It is a major source of revenue for the film. The box office route is still a viable option for both content companies and theatres if the past track record is anything to go by be it occupancy ,footfalls, revenue or operating profits. Both mediums for now are holding onto their exclusivity with formats and the USP attached to it. One can foresee the co-existence of both theatres and OTT platforms in the long run owing to their relevance to a particular format of content.