Feb, 2021 - By CMI
The OTT industry has boomed during the lockdown period as who people are were confined to their homes were finding ways of staying entertained by viewing the content on these platforms. On the other hand the traditional movie-going experience has been hampered because of lockdowns imposed by governments of several countries.
OTT platforms are streaming media services which are directly provided to viewers through internet. The term OTT stands for “Over the top” which intends to provide over the top content than other providers. OTT platforms were originally platforms that created original content and distributed it to viewers. The content available on OTT platforms is limited to these applications only and viewers have to pay a subscription amount to access to the content.
The major players in the OTT industry are Disney + Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Sony Liv, Netflix, Voot and more. These are the most subscribed OTT platforms in India that provide free and premium quality content to their viewers. The type of content shown on these platforms are series, web series, podcasts, audio books and movies. This content is usually provided on-demand platforms or through internet-based voice calling solutions.
These platforms are a revolution because they provide allow people to access entertaining content from the comfort of their homes and as per their convenience. These platforms provide content for every age group and population group. The easy availability of interesting content has made these services more attractive to consumers and could eventually lead them away from traditional media.
In the pre-COVID-19 era, the mainstream medium to sell the movies by production houses were movie theatres. Many youngsters and students enjoy the whole concept of going to the movies and it is like a ‘hangout spot’ for this population group.
With the alarming increase in COVID-19 cases in India, the government decided to shut down all the theatres keeping the safety of the public in mind. This was a major setback for the entertainment industry. During the lockdown, for a long period, no new movies were released due to the shutdown of theatres.
Consumers can avail various benefits by subscribing to these platforms. The convenience of using the internet and enjoying the content of one’s choice whenever they want to is one of the biggest advantaged. For instance, consumers can enjoy this favorite movie or show from their sofa any time of the day or night and have a leisurely time at home.
The OTT platforms gather a huge amount of younger audience which creates more hype for the shows presented on the platform. This type of audience makes the content on the platform more reachable to the audience who have not yet experienced the platform.
The transition from traditional to OTT is also very smooth as the user interface of the platforms are user friendly. The advertisement free feature in some of these platforms attracts and retains the new customers. As with the case of traditional entertainment, people are fed up of the breaks in between of their favorite shows. And other advantages of watching shows on OTT platforms is that the viewers can sit long hours and ‘binge-watch’ the whole series or movie, whereas in traditional medium the viewers have to watch only limited episodes.
After the lockdown was announced, everyone was confused as to how the entertainment industry will move forward and continue entertaining everyone when they were confined to their spaces. The content of OTT platforms is more unique as it has both movies and original content. It is praised by the young generation and they are fond of it. But some directors were skeptical to launch their movies on OTT platforms, as they were not sure about the profit they would make. They were in doubt because the movies made in Bollywood are big budget movies and in order to compensate them it is necessary for the movie to make big amount of money or they would incur a huge loss moreover it would also be considered as a flop movie which is usually a bi fear for the directors.
For instance, Sacred Games, a TV series on Netflix, was appreciated by the Indian viewers and it was a game changing moment for OTT platforms. Since then a lot of new TV shows like Mirzapur, Scam1992, Pataal Lok, Special ops, Family Man were launched o these platforms and they have created a hype in their respective platforms. Production houses are not ready to launch movies on OTT platforms and they have postponed the launch dates because theatres were closed. But after seeing the buzz around OTT platforms, movie makers are launching their movies on OTT platforms. Shoojit Sircar saw the potential of OTT platforms and was the first one to launch his movie Gulabo Sitabo on Amazon Prime Video starring Amitabh Bacchan and Ayushmann Khurrana which got a positive response from audience. The stars of the movie Amitabh Bacchan and Ayushmann Khurrana both played a major role in the success of the movie on an OTT platform by promoting the movie on every social media and creating a huge buzz for the movie. This move by creators of films was appreciated by other celebrities and public as well as it provided entertainment during the panic situation. Following the success of such movies, movies such as Extraction, The Raikar Case, Trance, Soorarai Pottru, Shakuntala Devi, and Gunjan Saxena also garnered huge success. The movies were watched and praised by a lot of people, this also attracted new audience to the platform that only watched movies in theatres and not on the OTT platform. Once the new audience is on the platform they may also explore the other content available which may interest them. The type and quality of the content will decide the retention ratio of the new audience. Many platform has been able to achieve positive retention ratio as the viewership on these OTT platforms have only increased during the lockdown.
Some of the top OTT Platforms in India during the lockdown are mentioned below:
1. Amazon Prime Video: It was launched in 2016, and is the most viewed OTT platform in India. It has a collection of Indian movies, Hollywood movies, TV shows, Kids entertainment as well some Amazon Original Series. Annual subscription of Amazon Prime is Rs. 999 and a monthly subscription is Rs. 129. With these subscriptions, users get free subscription for Amazon Prime Music and also free delivery on Amazon orders. Amazon caters to a wide variety of audience as they have content for both adults and kids and they can be available on different tabs also.
2. Netflix: Netflix basically focuses on series content which is targeted towards the younger audience. Netflix offers one of the best TV series in various languages like Hindi, English, Korean, and many more. It also has the facility of captions if one is not understanding the language and is still interested in watching the content. It has a huge viewer base in the U.S. and India as well as other countries like Australia, Europe, Germany, etc. Netflix offers content in genres such as documentaries, thrillers, romantic, action, and drama and caters to all kinds of audience. Monthly subscription of Netflix costs around Rs. 800 for 5 participants. As of third quarter of 2020 Netflix has gained 195.5 Million subscribers.
3. Hotstar + Disney: DisneyHotstar has partnered with 3 global OTT studios which include HBO, Disney, and Fox. Hotstar offers movies, TV series as well as live sports streaming. DisneyHotstar also premiered India’s biggest sport event, IPL. It provides different type of sports such as Tennis, Football, Kabaddi etc. Annual subscription of DisneyHotstar premium is Rs. 1499 and VIP is Rs. 399
4. Sony Liv: Sony Liv is owned by Sony Pictures Networks Pvt. Ltd. It provides content from the Sony Club such as Sony SAB, Sony Max, Sony TV, Sony Ten etc. It gives the choice to the audience to watch any type of content available on Sony TV with this app which is of their preference.
5. Zee 5: Zee 5 also provides the choice to watch all the content on Zee channels TV and movies as well as movies and TV serials in Indian languages such as Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam etc to the audience. It also provides Zee 5 Originals, Kids, Music, News, Live TV shows for an annual subscription of Rs. 365.
These were some of the main OTT platforms which were used the most during lockdown by the general public for their entertainment.
All these OTT platforms have made changes to the content they were providing before and after lockdown to ensure optimum entertainment of the public. This was the correct timing for the producers to bring new content in the market and get more reach. The reach was created as in a different way also as many OTT users are not used to watching Bollywood movies and seeing them on their favorite platform may have them interested to watch the movie. The traditional theatre entertainment has come to a halt now and it can be assumed that it may not be the same in future. There will be a slowdown in the profits of the traditional entertainment even after the lockdown restrictions are lifted as it will not be still safe for huge crowds to gather in a theatre to watch a movie together. The new face of entertainment will be new platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Zee 5 among others.