Author: Mukul Srivastava
After the arrival of Corona, OTT has given a new direction to the entertainment industry. FICCI and consulting firm EY report that in 2019, 28 million and in 2020 more than 53 million people have taken OTT subscription in India, which is a straight increase of 49 percent. On the other hand, 62 percent of the audience of cinema halls decreased and 13 percent of TV.
Actually, to set up an OTT platform (streaming service), no big capital is required compared to television. In this world dominated by Netflix and Amazon, many indigenous platforms have also tasted success in the Indian market. For example, ALTBalaji, a subsidiary of Balaji Telefilms, added 1.8 million subscribers as of September 2021, which is many times more than the 3.5 million subscribers three years ago. Other platforms like Zee5 and Sony Liv have also been headlined by overseas audiences.
It is the wonder of India’s diversity that the stars of Netflix and Amazon, which have become big names in terms of their number of subscribers across the world, are not so high in India. According to a report by streaming guide JustWatch, Disney Plus- Hotstar is at number one with a growth rate of 25 percent in the third quarter of 2021. Amazon Prime Video is at number two in this list, which has a growth rate of 19 percent. Netflix ranks third behind these three and has a growth rate of 17 percent, which is less than before.
Disney Plus- Hotstar continues to remain at number one with the highest growth for the third time in a row. In January this year, the growth rate of Disney Plus- Hotstar was 20 percent, which increased to 25 percent by the third quarter i.e. September. This had a direct impact on Netflix, whose growth rate decreased by two percent in the third quarter compared to the second quarter. A big reason for the success of Disney Plus- Hotstar and Amazon Prime is also to continuously show original content in Indian languages on these platforms, while most of the content on Netflix is in English or other European languages. While Netflix is dubbing its content in Indian languages, Disney Plus- Hotstar’s content shows more Indianness in terms of regionalism. Amazon is also serving the program keeping in mind the Indian audience. At the same time, more than 150,000 hours of video content is available on MX Player in 12 languages, which is very appealing to the audience.
Another reason Amazon Prime doesn’t use separate accounts for family members is all under one umbrella. But through this, shows and movies can be seen on different devices by creating profiles. But if multiple people are streaming on one account at the same time, a message will appear on the screen. Netflix lets you watch shows on anywhere from one to four devices, depending on the plan. The Disney Plus – Hotstar service is relatively the most generous of all, which allows streaming on up to four devices. It also has the option to create seven different profiles. This is also a big reason for its popularity in India.
History beyond statistics is a witness that change in human behavior never goes backwards. The COVID period has affected every area of our daily routine and many of these things will now become a part of our lives forever. Spending time on OTT platforms is one such habit. Although there are allegations of spreading obscenity on OTT, the variety that is there in the form of content, it is no longer with television, then the glut of advertisements on TV also breaks the immersion of the audience. There is also the fact that traditionally films first got hit by television, then VCR, then CD/DVD came, but our cinema halls kept on facing all these challenges by changing forms. How the TV and film industry will face this challenge from the OTT platform, is yet to be decided.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are those of the author.