The pandemic induced lockdowns and self-imposed house arrests led to Indian consumers increasing their screen time drastically. And that, in turn, helped over-the-top platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, etc., log more watch hours and onboard new users.
But, now that COVID-19 is slowly being wiped out will OTT platforms will face a sharp decline? According to the recent report by the consulting firm RedSeer, the answer to that is a definite no!
While the pandemic certainly may have been the trigger for a sudden surge in OTT platforms’ growth, factors such as telecom bundling, annual subscriptions, and more consumers choosing to watch movies online rather than in theatres are being pegged to drive sustainability in the near future.
RedSeer’s report highlighted that in February 2021, OTT platforms saw the number of unique paid users growing by a strong 35% when compared to April 2020, even though consumers are watching less content online as normalcy is being resumed post-COVID. Currently, the number of paid users stands at a whopping 31 million.
The report further revealed that OTT subscriptions saw an 8% increase during the same period, and each user is estimated to have 1.4 subscriptions under their name. Also, the revenue OTT platforms generated from subscriptions jumped by a whopping 42%, from $49 million in April 2020 to $68 million as of February 2021.
Now, moving forward, as mentioned earlier, one of the biggest factors which will help OTT player remain on a winning streak is telecom bundling. A recent survey conducted by Ovum, a consultancy firm and Amdocs, a services’ provider found out that 44% of Indian respondents are willing to spend more on their mobile and fixed broadband plans primarily motivated by the bundled media offerings that they are providing.
The survey also revealed that more than a whopping 50% of Indian consumers reported being subscribed to more than one OTT platform to meet the varied content consumption requirements of the different members within their family.
Apart from that, it should also be noted that the launch of new movies and exclusive shows is continually being shifted online and that further gives consumers more incentive to keep being subscribed to OTT platforms even in the new normal.
For instance, in July 2020, the movie ‘Dil Bechara’ starring Sushant Singh Rajput made the biggest opening ever when released on Disney+ Hotstar. And that is just one of the many success stories of video OTT platforms last year. Other titles which made their debut on streaming platforms and did exceptionally well are Ludo, Gulabo Sitabo and Choked.
But that being said, it is not exactly movies or tv series that are keeping users hooked onto OTT platforms. The report by RedSeer showed that out of the 188 billion minutes that users spent every month on streaming platforms, the highest 69 billion minutes was spent on daily soaps in February 2021. This is followed by movies with 31 billion minutes and then originals produced by the OTT platforms.
While Voot dominates the daily soaps genre with 27%, Hotstar dominates the movies’ genre with 33%.
Lastly, long term annual subscriptions are emerging as one of the biggest driving forces of growth for OTT platforms. This is because Indian consumers see it as a bigger bang for their buck, given out of home expenditures have been significantly reduced, all thanks to the pandemic.
Other significant factors which are also contributing to the growth of the OTT space in India are discounts, specifically tailored marketing efforts such as Netflix’s StreamFest, and mobile-only plans.
Thus, all in all, it is well understood that the coronavirus pandemic, though it was a short-term growth proponent for the adoption of viewing paid content, has set in motion a larger trend which Indian consumers will continue riding on in the near future. And this means streaming platforms will continue to thrive in the new normal as well. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.