Over-the-top media service in India

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There are currently about 40 providers of over–the–top media services (OTT) in India, which distribute streaming media over the Internet. In fiscal year 2018, the OTT market in India was worth 2,150 crore (₹21.5 billion, US$303 million as of 2018), and its value grew to ₹35 billion in 2019.

History and growth[edit]

The first dependent Indian OTT platform was BIGFlix, launched by Reliance Entertainment in 2008.[1]

In 2010, Digivive launched India's first OTT mobile app called nexGTv, which provides access to both live TV and on–demand content. nexGTV is the first app to live–stream Indian Premier League matches on smart phones and did so during 2013 and 2014.[needs update]

OTT gained significant momentum in India when both DittoTV (Zee) and Sony Liv were launched in the Indian market around 2013. DittoTV was an aggregator platform containing shows across all media channels including Star, Sony, Viacom, Zee, etc.[citation needed]

Rise of OTT in India[edit]

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and consequent national lockdown in March 2020, India witnessed a significant growth in the usage of OTT and emerged as a threat to the Television industry[2]. Until then, the populrity of OTT platforms were limited to urban area and above middle class. Due to the national lockdown, people were restricted to their homes and didn't have much options for entertainment. Film theatres were closed. Entertainment programs on Television were not that interesting for the educated middle class. So, they began to watch foreign TV programs on OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Shows like Scam 1992 (SonyLIV), Paatal Lok (Amazon Prime Video), Special Ops (Disney+ Hotstar), Flesh (Eros Now), and Asur (Voot) kept the audiences hooked on to the OTT platforms.[3]

The major reasons for the huge success or boom in the popularity of OTT were the availability of low-cost mobile data and affordable smartphones. India has the cheapest mobile data in the world with 1GB costing just INR 18.5 (approximately USD 0.25 in 2019, December 31) as compared to the global average of about INR 600 (approximately USD 8.4 in 2019, December 31).[2] It enabled the youth in India to access OTT video streaming services at affordable prices.

Rise of Hotstar[edit]

Hotstar, (now Disney+Hotstar), is the most subscribed–to OTT platform in India, owned by Star India as of July 2020, with around 300 million active users and over 350 million downloads.[4] According to Hotstar's India Watch Report 2018, 96% of watch time on Hotstar comes from videos longer than 20 minutes, while one–third of Hotstar subscribers watch television shows.[5] In 2019, Hotstar began investing ₹120 crore in generating original content such as "Hotstar Specials." 80% of the viewership on Hotstar comes from drama, movies and sports programs.[4] Hotstar has the exclusive streaming rights of IPL in India, which is one of the biggest sporting event in India.[6]

Netflix in India[edit]

American streaming service Netflix entered India in January 2016. In April 2017, it was registered as a limited liability partnership (LLP) and started commissioning content. It earned a net profit of ₹2020,000 (₹2.02 million) for fiscal year 2017. In fiscal year 2018, Netflix earned revenues of ₹580 million.[7] According to Morgan Stanley Research, Netflix had the highest average watch time of more than 120 minutes but viewer counts of around 20 million in July 2018.[5] As of 2018, Netflix has six million subscribers, of which 5–6% are paid members.[8]

India was not affected by Netflix's July 2018 increase in subscription rates for the US and Latin America. Netflix has stated its intent to invest ₹600 Crore in the production of Indian original programming.[9] In late 2018, Netflix bought 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2) of office space in Bandra–Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai as their head office. As of December 2018, Netflix has more than 40 employees in India.[7]

Netflix faces tough competition with other OTT platforms in India such as Amazon Prime and Disney+ Hotstar, each of which charge lower subscription rates than Netflix.[8]

Other OTT providers[edit]

'nexGTv' is the flagship product of 'Digivive Services Pvt Ltd'. Its app offers users entertainment across multiple devices. It streams over 200 live TV channels and on-demand content, including movies, TV Shows and videos. In 2015, nexGTv launched India's first mobile talent discovery platform, called 'SPOTLight', with director Imtiaz Ali. In 2016 nexGTV, launched its first original series 'In My City' with Priyanka Chopra making her mobile series debut.

Amazon Prime Video was launched in 2016. The platform has[when?] 2,300 titles available including 2,000 movies and about 400 shows. It has announced that it will invest ₹20 billion in creating original content in India. Besides English, Prime Video is available in six Indian languages as of December 2018.[10] Amazon India launched Amazon Prime Music in February 2018.[11]

Eros Now, an OTT platform launched by Eros International, has the most content among the OTT providers in India, including over 12,000 films, 100,000 music albums & tracks, and 100 TV shows. Eros Now was named as 'Best OTT Platform of the Year 2019' at the British Asian Media Awards.[when?] It has 211.5 million registered users and 36.2 million paying subscribers as of September 2020.[12]

Apart from these, Balaji Telefilms–owned ALTBalaji and Viacom 18–owned Voot and some very popular because of unique content they provide. Reliance Jio–owned JioCinema and JioTV, and Times Group–owned MX Player, Asianet Satellite Communications- owned Asianet Mobile TV are other OTT service providers in India.

Hoichoi is the first dedicated regional–language OTT service in India. It has launched 30 new shows and 12 original films in Bengali and has acquired about 200 Bengali films and dubbed content from English, Hindi and Arabic. In 2018 it entered Bangladesh as well as the United Arab Emirates, adding a prospective customer base of 180 million.[10]

In June 2017, Sun TV Network launched their Sun NXT regional OTT service in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali and Kannada.[13]

In February 2020, Aha OTT platform is launched, which broadcasts exclusively Telugu content.[14]

With rising interest for Korean dramas, Rakuten Viki saw its biggest jump of web traffic from India in 2020 due to COVID-19 lockdown which lead to ad localization on the platform.[15][16]

Future predictions[edit]

According to KPMG Media and Entertainment Report 2018, the Indian OTT market is expected to grow 45 percent to reach ₹138 billion by the end of fiscal 2023.[5] According to a report by Ernst & Young, the number of OTT users in the country will reach 500 million by 2020, making India the second–biggest market after the US.[10]

List of OTT platforms in India[edit]

Name Parent Active years Languages Notes/Ref.
Asianet Mobile TV Asianet Satellite Communications 2015–Present Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi
YuppTV YuppTV 2007–present Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada [17]
BIGFlix Reliance Entertainment 2008–present Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali India's first movie on demand service[1]
Vuclip PCCW 2008–present Hindi, Telugu, Tamil [18]
dittoTV Zee Entertainment Enterprises 2012–2018 English, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bangla Dissolved and Integrated into Zee5
Spuul Independent 2012–present Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, English
SonyLIV Sony Pictures Networks India 2013–present Hindi, English, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi [19][20]
TVFPlay Contagious Online Media Network Private Limited 2015–present Hindi,Telugu,Tamil [21]
Netflix Netflix Inc. 2015–present English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada [22]
Viu HK Television Entertainment 2015–present Hindi, Telugu, Tamil [23][24]
Arre UDigital 2015– present Hindi, English [25]
Disney+ Hotstar Star India (The Walt Disney Company India) 2015–present Hindi, English, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Marathi India's most subscribed OTT platform[26][failed verification][27]
Eros Now Eros International 2015–present Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi Titled as 'Best OTT Platform of the Year 2019' at the British Asian Media Awards[28]
Hooq Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Singtel 2015–2020 English Dissolved in 2020[29]
Hungama Play Hungama Digital Media Entertainment 2015–present Hindi, English, Telugu, Tamil [30]
Amazon Prime Video Amazon 2016–present Marathi, English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Punjabi, Gujarati [31][32]
Voot Viacom 18 2016–present English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Punjabi, Gujarati [33]
JioCinema Jio Platforms 2016–present English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Punjabi, Gujarati [34]
ALTBalaji Balaji Telefilms 2017–present Hindi, Telugu, Tamil [35]
Hoichoi Shree Venkatesh Films 2017–present Bengali, Hindi Bengali OTT
MX Player Times Internet 2018–present Marathi,Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Odia, Gujarati, English [36]
Zee5 Zee Entertainment Enterprises 2018–present Marathi, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Odia, Gujarati, English [37]
Ullu App Ullu App 2018–present Hindi, Telugu [38]
Mubi Mubi Inc. 2019–present English [39]
Manorama Max Malayala Manorama 2019–present Malayalam Malayalam content[40]
ShemarooMe Shemaroo Entertainment 2019–present Hindi, Telugu, Gujarati [41]
Aha Arha Media & Broadcasting Pvt. Ltd. 2020–present Telugu
Quibi Independent 2020–2020 English Mobile only
Viki Rakuten 2010–Present English Web and mobile[42][43]

List of podcast platforms in India[edit]

Name Free access Selective streaming Lossless (Hi-Fi) Track download Tracks (millions) Active users (millions) Paying users (millions) First launched Login required
Amazon Music Yes Yes Yes[44] Yes[45] 50 (Unlimited), 2 (Prime Music)[46] 16[47] Yes
Apple Music No Yes No Yes 60 60[48] 60[49] June 2015 Yes
Gaana Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Google Play Music No Yes No Yes[50] 40[51] November 2011 Yes
Hungama Yes Yes No Yes Yes
JioSaavn Yes Yes No Yes 30[52] 20[52] Yes
SoundCloud Yes Yes Partial Limited 200+[53] 175[54] No
Spotify Yes Yes No Yes 50[55] 289[56] 130 October 2008 Yes
Wynk Yes Yes No Yes Yes
YouTube Music Yes Yes No Yes 50[57] November 2015 No

Censorship[edit]

The Government of India in 2021 released a new set of rules that would bring OTT content in India under the standards of censorship that is applicable to other entertainment content platforms in India.[58] This created a stir among the OTT content providers who were upset about not being consulted before the move was announced.[59] Before this move by the government, 17 of the largest OTT platforms in India had come together to create a self-regulation kit.[60] Under the new rules the government has mandated the OTT platforms to classify content under five classifications namely, Universal (U)- suitable for all, U/A 7+ , U/A 13+, U/A 16+ and adult category.

References[edit]

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