Over the last five years, the Indian OTT space has experienced rapid growth. Aided by the ever-increasing reach of high-speed Internet in India and the launch of major global and Indian streaming platforms, the size of the digital videos category in India stood at 454 million audience.
According to a report, India has over 100 million active paid subscriptions. The 49 million unique users hold an average of 2.4 subscriptions per user. About 30% of the total digital video audience base is accessed by the 130 million users of these subscriptions.
It's clear that the OTT category is no longer niche. India has a user base of 130 million, which is higher than the 122 million audience base. A medium that began as a premium offering is now up and running. OTT adoption has accelerated due to the Pandemic. The growth did not flatten after the Pandemic. The number of subscriptions increased from the second half of the year to the second half of the year.
It won't be a joyride for the Indian OTT players. The category is going to have to adapt in its second phase if it wants to stay a niche category. Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi are some of the big cities where the subscriptions are high. Those who had to pay for their subscription have already done so. The growth must come from the mini-metros and small towns.
There are two issues that need to be addressed. Many Indians outside the top tier are not familiar with paying for content. The cord is not being cut in a hurry because television is important to the family outside the big metros. Audiences have to find a reason to pay for OTT subscriptions. Data costs are still a barrier for many middle and lower class people in India.
Content is the second issue. Premium (paid) streaming content used to be designed to cater to the big cities. Content development is still affected by this lens. The treatment of the small towns is more often than not not inclusive.
OTT platforms have been using these factors as a cue for content development and marketing. If one has to see significant positive results over the next two years, audience education in the smaller markets will be important.
OTT2 is here. The first phase of the category was exciting but let's hope it's even bigger and more inclusive.
The views are of the author.