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Online streaming biz rides on pandemic dynamics

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted most of India’s businesses. But it has turned out to be a boon for the country’s video-streaming platforms, also called over-the-top (OTT), which are witnessing a growth like never before. The user base has swelled from 23 million in April 2020 to 31 million in February this year, says a new report by market research firm Redseer. Most users subscribe to more than one OTT platform. These platforms together clocked a subscription revenue of $68 million in February 2021 — a 42% year-on-year increase.

According to experts tracking the OTT space, the growth is expected to soar further as the country is bracing for a second Covid wave. Popular OTT platforms such as Hotstar+Disney, Voot Select and regional SVoD (subscription video on demand) channels like HoiChoi and SunNXT are driving the growth with more people shifting their entertainment spends from offline to online. The add-on offers by telcos to woo their customers with free OTT subscriptions have also helped the streaming market. For instance, Reliance’s Jio Fibre broadband comes with free Netflix and Amazon Prime Video subscriptions.

However, in terms of engagement levels, the average time spent by an OTT user as of February 2021 dropped 6% to 188 billion minutes. The prime reason for the drop in engagement is that people started moving out after the Covid-19 restrictions eased and their favourite TV soaps started again. With more releases in the pipeline, the engagement is likely to increase.In the movies segment, Hotstar engagement (33% market share) was more than that of Netflix (4%) and Amazon Prime Video (10%). Lately, Netflix has started offering monthly mobile subscriptions at lower rates to compete with rivals.

“Our research shows that out of the 188 billion minutes spent on OTT, users spent the highest that is 69 billion minutes on daily soaps followed by movies with 31 billion minutes and then originals produced by the OTT platforms. Voot dominates the daily soaps genre compared to its players while ‘Others’ together contribute 31% as well. On the other hand, Hotstar dominates movies genre with 33%. Over the past year, consumer behaviour has largely changed as they now heavily rely on OTT platforms for new content. This will inevitably accelerate the growth trajectory of the industry,” Redseer said in its report. New Indian Express

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