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OTT predictions for the coming year

The pandemic changed everything in 2020. With people being forced to stay at home with minimal entertainment options, people started a new hobby – streaming content. Research indicates that streaming trends reached a new peak height, with consumption not restricted to any age group. The consumption growth was propelled by frequent lockdowns, new technologies, Internet penetration and most essentially, the many possibilities with the Smart TV. Video content gained importance in the past year, and digital streaming and OTT platforms got a more prominent seat at the table as movies began to be released directly on OTT Platforms. OTT brought the flux of fresh and engaging content. OTT opened new opportunities for the Indian Markets.

The popularity of OTT platforms stems from the fact that they offer subscribers limitless and instant access to original high-quality content. Popular OTT providers in India include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5, MX Player, and Voot, among many others. With the dearth of entertainment avenues, an updated library that includes digital premiers and Originals by the OTT players has led to the growing consumption of online content and rising paid subscription. Both 2020 and 2021 has seen a steady rise in the paid subscription.

With growing competition, OTT players too have started exploring freemium and bundle models, which has made it affordable to the viewers but instead challenged the profitability for the future. There are about 200 million online video viewers in India currently, which is set to exceed 400 million in the next couple of years. Although the catalyst for the online boom was Reliance Jio, the trend now has wings of its own. Furthermore, the streaming platforms ride on premium internet, i.e. Fibre penetration, to drive high-quality content till the last mile.

With that, let’s look at some developments in the OTT industry and some trends to watch for in the coming year.

5G will be a game-changer
5G internet shall become standardised like 4G that has settled down. We shall have most users, especially in urban areas on 5G internet. The 5G network is 100 times faster than the 4G LTE network, and this shall reflect the trend. For instance, consumers would pay a premium if 5G content is provided for better video quality. This technology shall also push live sports and event streaming.

OTT Advertising
Along with Netflix, Amazon and the traditional giants of the industry – regional and local players, will have strong momentum. Ad revenues shall see an increase as more and more people begin to use these services. The tectonic shift reflects in the growing competition with new OTT apps being launched in regional languages. With this, OTT Advertising will become more and more critical in the online ads space as well.

Subscription fatigue
There are excessive options in the OTT space both globally and locally. Consumers are now accustomed to subscription-based video services. At the same time, many viewers are becoming increasingly tired of subscribing to multiple apps/devices, etc. With this, we may see increased usage of bundled subscription packages together to create the viewer comfort. We are already witnessing Jio bundling the content providers together against its Internet subscription. This will likely expand in the future.

Rise of OTT Originals
OTT Industry saw a rapid spike in consumption as Lockdown forced everyone to be indoor. This also led to the increase of OTT Originals across content producers. OTT App players have already announced increased spends up to Rs 1900 crore in 2021 for original content, which pulls viewers to pay for the content they consume. Be it the Sacred Games or Mirzapur, OTT platforms are continuously sprucing up their library and have also put regional content in focus.

OTT Video Chat Consumption
This trend would be interesting to explore. Since Cinemas won’t be opening any sooner, OTT Video Chat consumption shall bring people to watch movies together on a video chat. This platform intends to bring people together, especially when it’s safer to be physically distant.

The OTT industry is getting challenging and highly volatile with many developments led by technology. The war is getting intense; innovation in key content & strategy is the need of the hour. Apart from the content, what also differentiates the OTT Platforms is the user experience which can further be enhanced by Smart TVs – enabling a cinematic experience at home. Telecom Talk

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