Hotstar top video streaming app in India: report

American video streaming apps Netflix and Amazon Prime ranked No. 9 and 5 respectively, indicating local content is key in the Indian market


Industry executive say live sports content, especially cricket, gave Hotstar the edge.
Industry executive say live sports content, especially cricket, gave Hotstar the edge.

Broadcaster Star India Pvt Ltd’s Hotstar tops the list of video streaming apps by monthly active usage, followed by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd’s JioTV and JioCinema, according to app analytics firm App Annie Inc.

American video streaming apps Netflix and Amazon Prime ranked lower at number 9 and 5 respectively. The data was collected in the last six months of 2016 across Android phones in India.

The rankings are an indicator that local content is key to achieving both scale and volumes on the internet in India.

While Hotstar credited its lead to “technology” and “best stories,” industry executive say live sports content, especially cricket, gave it the edge.

“Hotstar’s leadership has been established on the back of two clear sources of distinctiveness. One, we are clear that technology is at the heart of the service we have built and we are focused on innovation in technology to ensure that our service experience is the best in the country. And, second, we showcase the best stories from around the world,” said Ajit Mohan, chief executive at Hotstar.

After the two Jio apps is VOOT, a digital streaming platform from Viacom18 Digital Ventures, which ranked number four. According to Gaurav Gandhi, chief operating officer at VOOT, the online video consumption category has already arrived in India and is no longer an “emerging” category—a term used commonly in the industry.

“We see this data quite often. I think its clear that the first four platforms (on this list) generate billions of minutes of watch time per month. These are also largely ad- supported models with limited freemium content. In this market everything that sells in volume and scale is local content,” Gandhi explained.

VOOT generates two-thirds of its traffic from television content aired across channels like Colors and MTV, among others. The app has managed to log 50 minutes of watch time per user per day. VOOT has 18 million monthly active users, said Gandhi.

Amazon Prime, which launched its video services a fortnight before the end of the year, ranked number five.

“India is an important market for Amazon Prime Video and we are extremely encouraged by the response we have received so far. At Amazon, we think customers first and are humbled by the tremendous response received from our customers that has led to Prime sign-up rate more than doubling since our launch,” said Nitesh Kripalani, director and country head, Amazon Prime Video India, in an emailed statement.

The total time spent on the top 10 video streaming apps on Android phones in India increased 600% between July and December 2016 compared to the same period a year ago, App Annie data showed.

Other names on the list include TVF Play, an app launched by the popular content creator The Viral Fever, broadcaster Sony Pictures Network’s digital platform SonyLiv and Netflix, among others.

According to consulting firm EY, India had 160 million digital video viewers as of the end of 2016. “The Internet user base is well north of 400 million and rapidly growing, and 75% is driven by mobile. The smartphone user base is touching 300 million and people consuming video content on digital devices is heading towards 200 million by the middle of 2017,” Gandhi said in an earlier interview.

Netflix did not respond to queries sent by Mint.

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