OTT in India: Netflix killed the TV star

OTT in India: Netflix killed the TV star


Netflix, Hotstar, Alt Balaji, SonyLiv: all they have in common is that they are creating truckloads of content for the millennial, available to them at the tap of an app. Hotstar, a 21st Century Fox company, has 70% of overall app download in the category. SonyLiv is a close second at 13% courtesy GEC content and sports content, given the foreign rights to major cricket tournaments and recently-held FIFA World Cup. The unlikely hero Voot is third with 11%, whereas marketing-heavy Amazon Prime Video is fourth at 5%. Surprisingly, the global Daddy of OTT Netflix looms at 1.5% (they also categorise them as premium compared to other OTT players). 

The OTT market is believed to be valued at USD 218 million by 2020 and only rise beyond that. The music space is to believed to be USD 270 million by 2020. As of now Google Play music is the market leader, with Saavn as the distant second. Other notable players in the category include Apple Music and Gaana (owned by Times Internet). 

Hotstar recently expanded its wings to Canada and US at a monthly subscription price of USD 9.99. Clearly it is a sign of tapping into the NRI market which is sometimes oblivious to the entertainment and sport scene in India. Eros Now, another OTT player, entered South Africa in partnership with Telcel Global. 

Industry analysts say that it is original and exclusive content that might separate the leader from others. Netflix recently produced Saif Ali Khan and Nawazzudin Siddiqui starrer Sacred Games (backed by heavy promotion) which has been appreciated by audience and critics alike. The lack of censorship control gives directors like Anurag Kashyap more creative liberty in expressing to the audience (Sacred Games is filled with unprecedented swear words and nudity which is usually censored by CBFC in case of traditional cinema release). Amazon Prime’s latest Comicstaan is already being promoted heavily. Alt Balaji earlier roped in acclaimed star Rajkumar Rao for Netaji:Dead or Alive. Unsurprisingly, all OTT players are allocating significant budgets for exclusive content in order to woo audiences. 

The surge of data, courtesy Jio, has give OTT players aspirations to grow into Tier 2,3 and rural marketers also. Given Hotstar is a freemium player, along with a few others, allows users to download apps in big numbers. The drop in smartphone pricing has also encouraged these players to market to bottom-of-the-pyramid for who major entertainment entails GEC content. With OTT picking up, players have also bet on regional content (cared watching regional content on Netflix?). While TV still controls 63% of entertainment medium, it will take years for OTT to catch up. But with data disruption happening, who knows?

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