Over the past couple of years, the over-the-top (OTT) media services market in India has doubled in size. The overall growth of the media & entertainment industry, despite the current economic uncertainties, offers an encouraging picture. OTT media saw a significant uplift during the pandemic lockdowns, with growth continuing even as restrictions eased. According to GlobalData, subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service revenue in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.5% from $1.3 billion in 2021 to $2.7 billion in 2026.
The rapid migration of viewers on streaming platforms, which accelerated in 2020 and 2021, has seen new business models emerge, with an increased focus on advertising as subscription growth tapers off.
The top five OTT platforms in India
Disney+ Hotstar: AnIndian OTT streaming platform owned by Novi Digital Entertainment, a subsidiary of Disney’s Star India. It features two paid subscription plans; ‘VIP’, which focuses on domestic programs and sports content, and ‘Premium’, which features premium international films and television series.
Amazon Prime Video: Amazon Prime Video launched in 2016 in India and has been among the top five OTT platforms in India from the outset. As well as English, Prime Video was available in six Indian languages from December 2018.
Voot: Voot is a video-on-demand (OTT) platform, which is a part of Viacom18 Digital, the digital arm of Viacom18. It has over 35,000 hours of content for audiences with varying choices and preferences.
Netflix: One of the most popular streaming services in the world. The OTT platform offers four subscription plans including Mobile, Basic, Standard, and Premium. It faced tough competition given the large number of OTT platforms in India, many of which charge lower subscription rates than Netflix. Despite this, it is still among the top OTT platforms in India because of the quality and range of the content it provides.
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ZEE5: ZEE5 is an Indian video-on-demand service run by the Essel Group via its subsidiary Zee Entertainment Enterprises. It streams some of its most popular TV serials, which were already broadcast on television.
Dispute on implementation of regulation
The Telecommunication Bill 2022, drafted by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), has included OTT for the first time as part of the telecommunication service. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), India has facilitated the growth of both OTT service providers as well as traditional service providers, which is reflected in the strong growth in the digital economy. The fundamental objective of the proposed measure was to provide an appropriate regulatory framework for the operational aspects of OTT communication services. Including OTT players in the scope of telecoms licensing implies they will also pay a license fee. This has three major implications:
- Access costs for consumers could go up significantly as license costs are passed on to them.
- This may in turn hinder growth and innovation in the space, as OTT apps have helped build a broad start-up ecosystem, with India having created more than a hundred unicorns.
- It may reduce the number of subscribers as free OTT apps on this digital public infrastructure currently allow millions of Indians to access.
Future of OTT platforms in India
Media & entertainment is one of the fastest-growing industries in India. However, it can be hard to keep up with shifting consumer demands and changing content trends. Consumers are more likely to watch a variety of content whenever and wherever they want. However, the government will include whatever controls are deemed necessary in the soon-to-be-unveiled Digital India Act. Also, it has promised that licensing will act against forged accounts, protect consumer data, and limit players’ competition. This will result in both positive and negative consequences.