The popularity of video streaming, which started on mobile phones as a result of cheap internet bandwidth, has transitioned to television screens.
Over 30 streaming video apps are vying for attention, and their popularity is the result of on-demand viewing, which is a break from watching TV shows on a schedule. Analysts said creative original content provided by over-the-top content [delivered directly over high-speed internet] is also helping. The market size of video streaming in India is estimated at $1 billion and is growing at 40-45% a year, making the country the fastest growing OTT market in the world.
“For streaming video, mobile is the gateway but TV is the destination. Consumers are getting introduced to streaming videos on mobile. Then they are figuring out how to watch this on their TV screen,” said Nishith Shah, an industry analyst.
What has given video streaming a push is the natural disadvantage of viewing content on mobile phones: for videos of up to 30 minutes’ duration that can be watched on the go, mobiles are ideal. But for long-form content, which are between one to three hours long, it can get tiresome. “Streaming video apps are reporting better numbers on TV as compared to mobiles because of longer watch times. This has resulted in more spend per user,” said Mr. Shah.
The shift has also helped push smart TV sales.
“Television has emerged as the centre of the viewing experience for popular OTT platforms, which can be best experienced on the big screen,” said Pratyush Chinmoy, head, marketing, Mirc Electronics, which owns the Onida brand. “With TV, one can enjoy content along with one’s family and friends. This scores over the mobile because continuous interference of other apps or calls can hamper the viewing experience.”
The smart TV segment, he said, is itself witnessing a ‘big revolution’, following the high growth period smartphones have enjoyed in the past few years. “The biggest winners have been the consumers and OTT publishers, with higher investment in the OTT content space.”
Akhil Suhag, founder and CEO, FanFight, an online gaming platform for cricket said OTT platforms have been helping them to reach out to the right audience. “The increasing trend of OTT platforms moving from mobile to television gives access to a larger number of consumers for players like us. We have been associated with Hotstar and MX Player for reaching out to consumers, who are very excited to play fantasy cricket on our platform. With this engagement, we were able to scale up our subscriptions to 6 million players and are now aiming for 10 million.”
Every brand is now pushing smart TVs loaded with apps. In addition, leading cable and direct-to-home operators are introducing Android-powered, smart set-top boxes, the single device capable of handling regular TV broadcasting as well as streaming video. The Hindu