An Overview of OTT Platforms In India
Nowadays, watching a movie or a tv program with relatives is uncommon and everyone has their own preferences. As a result, people like to watch movies/shows on their phones or computers. The platform you're using, whether it's MX Player, Amazon Prime, or Netflix, is an OTT platform.
As per estimates, with a business size of approximately Rs 500 crore presently, online video streaming services could become a Rs 4000-crore sales market by the end of 2025. At the end of 2019, India had 17 million OTT platform subscribers.
So, if you’re wondering which OTT platforms you should subscribe to, check out our comprehensive guide to all the streaming platforms available in India.
What Is OTT Platform?
Over-the-top (OTT) platforms are video and audio streaming and viewing sites that began as content streaming channels but quickly expanded into the creation and distribution of short films, motion pictures, documentaries, and web series itself.
These apps have a variety of content and utilise artificial intelligence to recommend content to consumers depending on their earlier browsing history on the app. Most OTT sites have some free content and require a monthly membership fee for paid content that is not available elsewhere.
The premium content is typically developed and distributed by the OTT platform itself, in collaboration with existing production houses that have previously produced feature films.
Leading OTT Platforms In India
1. Disney Plus Hotstar
Disney Plus is a service provided by Disney. Hotstar is an OTT website that is well-known for its IPL exposure. Star India, an affiliate of Walt Disney Corporation India, owns the company. Hotstar is among the best websites for those looking for a variety of options.
A “Hotstar Watch n Play” contest to transform casual fans into engaged participants was one of the marketing campaigns that helped Hotstar succeed. Hotstar's business model consists of freemium and subscription, with free content accessible to freemium subscribers and charged content accessible to valued clients.
2. ZEE 5
ZEE 5 is another prominent OTT network operated by Essel Group through its subsidiary ZEE Entertainment Enterprises. Launched in February 2018, like every other OTT website, its content is available in 12 languages, and programs from the ZEE channel of suspense, mystery, and crime are also available. In the year 2019,
According to ZEE 5, there are about 56 million daily users. Moreover, it had an almost 80% rise in membership after the lockdown.
So if you're a “Bigg Boss” fan who never misses an episode, Voot might be your favorite app out of all the apps on your computer. Viacom 18 Digital Ventures has founded Voot, another OTT network. You can watch Colors TV's different TV shows when watching blockbuster movies. According to the most recent news, VOOT would be the first AVOD (advertisement based on demand) website in India to turn a profit.
4. Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a well-known American organization best known for its web series such as "Mirzapur." Its material is also available in other languages, such as Dutch, italics, and so on. If you are only familiar with the Indian language and are in India, you can obtain the content in both Hindi and English. However, unlike other OTT channels like Hotstar, ZEE5, or Voot,
Regional languages are not available here. Amazon Prime is a popular destination for web series fans. You can still watch Hollywood movies and TV shows here, which draw audiences who are often drawn to international shows. Amazon Prime's most recent campaign policy entails the announcement of a mobile-only plan in India.
He stated that throughout the third quarter of 2020, there was a growth of approximately 80% of Prime members globally.
Netflix is one of the most common OTT services, and it is suitable for those interested in foreign programs. It is a corporation based in the United States with a VOD (video-on-demand) business model. It is published in nearly 20 languages, like English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Netflix's content campaign is the oldest, but the firm is only reaping the rewards. With an ML and AI-based framework, the company is focusing on email marketing. Excluding it, they are worried about consumer safety, because they use targeted ads, which means that no two users can see the same homepage. Netflix hits 16 million subscribers in three months after the lockdown.
6. MX Player
MX Player is an OTT platform that offers material in all audio formats (including AC-3) and with subtitle assistance. It is accessible in eleven different languages. The great thing regarding MX Player is that it has audio material, which sets it apart from the rest of the network. You will listen to different songs and watch different programs. 141 million unique users were recorded by the MX player mostly during the lockdown.
7. Sony Liv
Sony Liv is another common OTT channel since it hosts the "Play Along" contest and allows viewers to compete for the hot seat on "Kaun Banega Crorepati." Sony Liv was introduced by Sony Picture India Private Limited in 2013. It allows you to view all of Sony Entertainment Television's programs, and it provides a source of cricket, basketball, WWE, and UFC, making it great for sports fans. Aside from these, the platform contains approximately 700 films. Sony LIV received 26.14 million visitors in December 2020, ranking first in the area of arts and entertainment.
8. ALT Balaji
ALTBalaji is a fully owned subsidiary of Balaji Telefilms Ltd as well as an Indian subscription-based video on demand website. ALTBalaji, which debuted on April 16, 2017, is the Group's first foray into the digital entertainment space, with the aim of producing original OTT content. The website has about 34 million paying subscribers.
ALTBalaji's audiences can access it via 32 different interfaces. The content is accessible via mobile phones and tablets (Apple phone, Apple iPad, Android phone, Android tablet), internet browser (Desktop Browser), Android TV, including Windows (Windows PC, Windows Mobile, Windows tablet).
According to their website, the portal is India's largest content bank. The content from a variety from drama to comedy and romance, as well as thrillers, crimes, and mysteries.
9. JIO Cinema
JioCinema is an Indian premium video-on-demand and over-the-top streaming service operated by Jio Platforms, a Reliance Industries Limited subsidiary. JioCinema, which debuted on September 5, 2016, has a content collection that covers films, tv programs, web series, music videos, and documentaries. The software is available on both Android and iOS users.
JioCinema debuted on September 5, 2016, in conjunction with Jio's public launch. JioCinema is among one of the apps presented exclusively for Jio subscribers, along with others operated by Jio Platforms (JioTV, JioSaavn, JioNews, JioMart, JioMeet, JioChat, and JioTalks).
10. Youtube Premium
YouTube Premium (previously YouTube Red) is a video website YouTube's subscription service. The service offers ad-free access to all content on the web, and also subscription to premium YouTube Originals content created in conjunction with the site's producers, video downloads and background playback on handheld devices, and subscription to the YouTube Music streaming music service.
The service was initially unveiled as Music Key on November 14, 2014, and offered only ad-free streaming of music videos from licensed labels on YouTube and Google Play Music. On October 31, 2015, the app was redesigned and rebooted as YouTube Red, offering ad-free access to all YouTube content rather than only audio.
On May 17, 2018, YouTube launched the rebranding of the channel as YouTube Premium, as well as the return of a dedicated YouTube Music streaming service. Subsequently that year, it was announced that YouTube was aiming to make some of its original shows accessible on an ad-supported basis.
The Viral Fever appended to TVF, is an Indian video-on-demand and over-the-top subscription service as well as a YouTube channel established in 2010 by TVF Media Labs and now owned and managed by Contagious Online Media Network Private Limited. As per Arunabh Kumar, the owner, the idea behind TVF has been to go out to the millennial population, who hardly ever watch television content.
The Viral Fever had been an early entrant into the Indian digital entertainment market, with videos addressing a wide variety of subjects including Indian affairs, film, lifestyle, and new social concepts. With mega-hits like Permanent Roommates and TVF Pitchers, The Viral Fever was the leader of the web series in India.
Permanent Roommates, their initial web series, premiered in 2014. By June 2015, it had become the world's second most-watched long-form web series. In June 2015, TVF Pitchers, a 2nd original season, was announced. It depicts engineers from various industries who left their jobs to start their own company. The organization secured $10 million in investment from Tiger Global in February 2016 as a result of its rising success, with both TVF Pitchers and Permanent Roommates being viewed by millions of people around the world.
Why Are OTT Platforms Growing?
1. Western Culture Transformation
People began to live in towns with small households, and their source of entertainment shifted over time. The transformation of Western culture in this way inspired the emergence of OTT networks, from using the phone for fun with the entire family to using conventional television.
2. Different Individuals Have Different Preferences
People have different options and views. For example, if you’re living with your parents and grandparents, you might want to binge the latest episode of Sacred Games, while your parents want to watch the match. Moreover, your grandparents want to watch the latest episode of Mere Sai. If there’s only one television in your house, how can you go about this? The answer is simple; OTT platforms. Each member can use a different device to watch what they want at the same time.
The great thing about OTT platforms is that it is distinct from a traditional television set; it is based on the motto “Anytime, Everywhere, Everyone.”
- Anytime – The viewer will watch their favourite programs at any time since they are always available on the internet in only a few clicks;
- Anywhere– Users can watch shows from any location; all they need is a device and an internet connection (in the event of online streaming; alternatively, shows could be downloaded).
- Everyone– Anyone with any device can use the platform. You will just need to create an account on that website in order to access it.
4. Quality and Fresh Content
The OTT app allows you to watch everything. People are also drawn to these platforms since they are tired of conventional TV serials, mostly Indian serials, which seem to go on forever.
5. Streaming Before Television
Some TV shows and films are streamed on streaming channels even before they are broadcast on television. As a result, for first-time film or web series fans, this is the ideal medium to take their enthusiasm to new heights.
Competition in OTT Market Across India
The competition in the nation's OTT streaming industry is gaining steam, with over 40 players vying for even more exposure in the muddled OTT market. India is now regarded as one of the most engaging OTT markets in Asia.
In India, the OTT industry has gone through a positive period (2016-18) and is now entering a process of intensification. By the end of 2021, India is assumed to be amongst the top ten OTT markets around the world. By 2023, India will get more than 500 million online video viewers, trailing only China as the world's top online video sector.
The TV may slow, but it will not be completely destroyed by the size of OTT, as has been seen in other markets. The TV industry in India will rise at an 11% CAGR from 2017 to 22 while the global growth rate will remain at 1.4% over the same time.
India has a large number of televisions, with more than 170 million households having access to one. A strong need for content fuels it, and televisions will continue to be a cornerstone of Indian viewing habits. The OTT players see this as a portal, or a mirror, into people's hearts.
How are OTT Platforms Used in Rural India?
If there is one industry in India that is experiencing rapid localization and growth, it is multimedia. It all started with dubbing, voice-over, and subtitling of mass media, such as National Geographic and Discovery channel video.
Nevertheless, the game has changed dramatically since then due to the introduction of over-the-top (OTT) teams. Global OTT competitors including Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, and also rising Indian OTT platforms including Hotstar, Alt Balaji, Zee5, and many others in the race, are constantly influencing Indian entertainment markets.
According to a Boston Consulting Group survey, the Indian OTT market will reach USD 5 billion by 2023.
After successfully targeting urban audiences, digital video portals have expanded their scope to include consumers in tier 2 and 3 markets, and also rural India. With their broad ritual as well as other regional content types, several new entrants, such as Shemaroo Me, are specifically targeting smaller markets. Eros also has collaborated with BSNL to sell the entertainment channel to smaller markets.
Approximately 65% of OTT content consumption arises from rural areas as Reliance Jio rendered Internet achievable for less. Although Reliance Jio expanded the scenario of the Internet on cell phones, users in rural areas still needed access to OTT platforms, which YouTube made easy. YouTube is readily available and comes pre-installed on Android devices. It also covered 90.68% of the sector until March 2019. This situation further explains why Amazon has collaborated with OEMs to gain access to and preload its Prime Video program on devices for convenience.
Moreover, Television networks are launching their own OTT channels. With growing competition from online content providers, TV networks like Zee, Star, and Sun have introduced their own OTT channels in order to sustain and expand their rural audiences.
According to KPMG, Eros Now reported that more than 85% of Indians choose to watch videos in various regional languages. This situation makes it easier for players including Sun TV and Zee TV to hit a captive audience through their OTT channels.
Price Changes To Reach Rural Audiences
Though new content is a differentiator for OTT networks, it is the price of the content that makes OTT players different. Amazon Prime Video, for instance, is available for Rs. 999 a year in addition to Amazon's Prime shopping service. Netflix's basic package, on the other hand, costs Rs. 499 per month. In this case, Netflix launched a mobile-only plan at Rs. 199 per month specifically to reach its rural viewers in order to reduce price points.
Furthermore, Sony LIV recently launched its shampoo sachet package for Rs 29, which provides access to premium material for 7 days, affecting other local OTT channels.
Telcos already have formed alliances with OTT players, who are assisting them in increasing revenue by increasing data use, especially among their current customers. Many internet service providers are also increasing their sales by bundling their existing subscription offerings and working with OTT networks to increase the value of their monthly internet bundles.
What Are The Rules That Govern OTT Platforms?
As OTT platforms are a fairly recent medium of entertainment in India, there are currently no laws or regulations governing them. Unlike television, print, or radio, which obey regulatory rules, OTT outlets, also known as streaming media or social media, had next to no regulation about the type of content they sold, subscription fees, and licensing for adult movies, among other things.
The governance of such websites has been extensively debated and discussed in India. Following calls to govern the content available on these streaming services, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), a governing body of the OTT platforms, suggested a self-regulation model.
As part of its new two-tier framework, the Online Curated Content Providers (OCCPs) suggested a Digital Curated Content Complaints Council as well as a self-regulatory system. Even so, the plan was rejected by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which will now manage these channels.
Impact of Government Regulations On OTT Platforms
With the government agreeing to bring “films and audio-visual programs made accessible by internet entertainment providers” and also “current affairs content on online channels,” the first obstacle for OTT platforms would be keeping track of their content.
The union government's decision to place OTT platforms under the jurisdiction of the I&B Ministry implies that these platforms must apply for registration and authorization of the content they intend to stream. This could cause a slew of problems because most OTT websites contain content that would otherwise be restricted by India's certification boards.
OTT channels are likely to oppose any attempts to censor the material they offer and download, as these platforms have always chosen to create movies and documentaries on politically controversial but important topics. It will further be intriguing to see what rules if any, the I&B ministry establishes for governing these OTT channels.
What Challenges Do OTTs Face?
There’s no doubt that OTT platforms come with a host of benefits. However, there are a few challenges that these platforms need to tackle.
Safety and PrivacyPrivacy and security are two of the most pressing issues for any tech behemoth. Similarly, OTT outlets must be mindful of all of these concerns. The data contained in their platform can not be used for unauthorized reasons, even when logging in or in their browsing history. Otherwise, the reputation of OTT sites will suffer, and people will become reluctant to use them.
Meet User DemandsOne purpose people move from conventional TV to OTT channels is to get access to new, high-quality content. Particularly Indian TV serials, which are bogus and never-ending. If the number of people using OTT channels grows, so will the number of demands. As a result, OTT sites must assure that content is provided and maintained in accordance with customer demand.
What Does the Future Hold for Over-the-Top (OTT) Services?
OTT networks have a bright future. Customers can be guided for quality content with the aid of a recommendation engine using emerging innovative technology such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analysis. China, South Korea, and Japan have already initiated commercialized 5G technology.
India is projected to be the fourth Asian country to join the queue. Without a doubt, India needs this technology. Anything cannot be done manually and takes a long time in a country with a population of around 135 crores. It is essential to create technology capabilities. India has taken measures in recent years to improve its internet protocol, but further development is required. As a result, it is safe to predict that the OTT platform will have a bright future.