They say ‘video killed the radio star’ but after the emergence of smartphones and reduction in data prices, OTT will kill the traditional cable TV.
What is OTT you ask? It is Over-the-Top streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime video and other screen glueing services that you binged on last weekend.
In the last 2 to 3 years, nearly 30 video streaming services have taken the launchpad route in India. This new wave of entertainment medium includes international companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and local brands like Balaji’s Telefilm’s ALTBalaji and those owned by broadcast networks like Star India’s Hotstar and Sony Entertainment Television’s SonyLIV. Earlier this year, media behemoth Zee joined the race by launching Zee5, it comes with 1 lakh hours of content.
Netflix is considered synonymous with OTT, but surprisingly the market leader among the 30’ish players is Star Network’s Hotstar, which foresaw the possibilities and took the first mover advantage on this digital platform branch for its vast repertoire of original shows across many languages. Hotstar works on the freemium model where 80% of its content repository is free and the premium ones are available at a subscription fee.
Currently, OTT is just 16% in comparison to traditional TV channels and other media. But research conducted by Boston Consulting Group in 2018 points out that the OTT platform in India is worth Rs. 3,500 crore but is poised to grow by manifolds to a whopping Rs. 35,000 crore in the next five years.
But the most interesting would be the success of Hoichoi, a Bengali based regional OTT service. It started operations in 2017 and is the first dedicated regional language. It has become a huge hit in the regional space and is almost reaching a million monthly users. Hoichoi plans to go international as well into Bangladesh & UAE which will encapture a prospective user base get them the high paying subscribers, but producing Indian language content will increase the numbers. In the coming year, Netflix will release its self-produced local language film in Marathi with big names like Madhuri Dixit and Priyanka Chopra. On the other hand, ALT Balaji is focussing on creating content in Tamil, Telegu, and Gujarati. While Reliance’s Bigflix has already jumped on the regional language with nine languages including Malayalam and Punjabi. Amazon Prime has announced that it will invest Rs 2,000 crores in creating original content in India. It is looking to launch 30 original shows in multiple languages in the coming days.
The patterns of growth are similar to how the cable TV industry shaped, regional content took centre stage and drove the numbers. Being an established brand is not a direct license to a success story. Sometimes it’s important to go back to basics – Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.
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