INDIA. COVID-19 forced lockdowns all over the world. Everyone had to resort to remote working that eventually caused a shift in the working culture. With nearly all public gatherings called off, people had no access to lounges, theatres, malls, and other sources of entertainment. This opened a Pandora´s box of opportunities for the entertainment industry to go online.
During these taxing times, Pay-TV and Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms helped people get their daily dose of entertainment, resulting in a big spike in viewership on these platforms.
Today people all over the world, especially in India, are subscribing to OTT platforms more and more. Though seen by many as a temporary phase, for the moment, theatres and OTT platforms will have to learn to coexist.
Affordable and pocket friendly
There is a lot of competition for Indian OTT space, which has been great for consumers since it gives them a chance to watch a variety of content at pocket-friendly prices. Yearly subscriptions don’t cross the Rs 2,000 mark.
Top streaming OTT platforms such as Hotstar, AmazonPrime, NetFlix, SonyLiv, ZEE5, ALTBalaji, Erosnow, Voot, Viu, MX Player, and others have the right mix of programs to keep people entertained. They provide original content across different genres and languages. Service providers also offer the power of television through exclusive tie-ups with broadcasting networks such as AltBalaji with Zee5, Hotstar with Star India, MX Player with Arré and Hoichoi, and Hulu with ABC and NBC.
The role of COVID-19 in a growing trend
Lockdowns saw a great increase in usage of the internet, up by 50% in some parts of the world as more people have moved online. Millions are now connecting to the internet from kitchens, living rooms, and home offices every day. Vodafone reports that they have already seen data traffic increase by 50% in some markets.
Internet data consumption per minute also has come down drastically. People can now watch two movies at a go by consuming a max of 1.5 GB of data. A cheaper data cost along with good connectivity is another reason for both rural and urban populations to use video content.
What the future holds for the entertainment industry
In a historic first, entertainment industry consumers are in the driver’s seat. This could be termed as the golden era of content availability thanks to OTT platforms.
The Indian market has responded to domestic and foreign OTT platforms with open arms, armed with easy access to digital devices. It has been noticed during the pandemic that linear TV viewership has gone up by 6-7 percent, whereas OTT is up by 38 percent. With age-specific targeted content, language options, and regional content even the Tier 3 and 4 cities where continuous electricity is still a problem, have shown a spurt in growth.
India is a huge and diverse market for almost every industry in the world, and OTT platforms are not falling behind. It is estimated that the nation will be one of the top 10 OTT markets in the world in the next five years, with revenues to the tune of Rs 5,000 crores.