Home >Industry >Media >Streaming platforms ride on premium Internet to build on India family audience
To make the best of the offers, make sure you have used the one-month free trial of Netflix/Amazon Prime before you buy the OTT bundled Airtel/Vodafone plan. Photo Imaging: Kishore Rawat
To make the best of the offers, make sure you have used the one-month free trial of Netflix/Amazon Prime before you buy the OTT bundled Airtel/Vodafone plan. Photo Imaging: Kishore Rawat

Streaming platforms ride on premium Internet to build on India family audience

  • The spike in OTT viewership can be gauged from the fact that the ecosystem has managed to garner the number of new users in the past three months, that it would have collected over two to three years

NEW DELHI: Video streaming platforms are eyeing partnerships with telecom companies that have begun to offer premium OTT (over-the-top) service bundles and broadband packages to build on the family audience base they acquired in India during the lockdown.

For instance, the latest 1,499 JioFiber Diamond plan offers 300Mbps speed and free access to 12 OTT apps including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, JioCinema, Zee5, Sony Liv, VOOT, Alt Balaji, Sun NXT, Shemaroo, Lionsgate Play, and Hoichoi. Earlier this month, VOOT, the VoD service owned by Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd, partnered Airtel XStream which would provide users access to content across multiple screens --- on TV over the Airtel Xstream Box, on smartphone and on the laptop.

The lockdown earlier, and now restricted travel and entertainment options have compelled users to invest in optimum Internet infrastructure, that will also come handy for OTTs that hope to bring families together to watch content. The spike in OTT viewership can be gauged from the fact that the ecosystem has managed to garner the number of new users in the past three months, that it would have collected over two to three years, said Gourav Rakshit, chief operating officer, Viacom18 Digital Ventures.

“With education and work happening from home now, consumers have identified the timely need for premium Internet and broadband services," said Mihir Shah, vice-president at advisory, consulting and research services provider Media Partners Asia (MPA). The need for entertainment is a primary addition, with people consuming at least three OTT services given the different needs of various members of the family.

“Tariff regulations introduced by the Trai last year have made pay TV services expensive for consumers. Meanwhile, telcos have been making last-mile upgrades to scale their fixed broadband business with both Jio and Airtel slashing their home broadband base plans by 40%, which will allow them to expand their household reach and reinvigorate growth in the fixed broadband market," Shah said.

MPA expects India to have 45 million fixed broadband subscribers by 2025, and more than 80% of these will access through high-speed FTTx -- Fibre to the X, a type of broadband network architecture which uses telecom provider's network to deliver broadband connections.

From a consumer standpoint, the higher-priced bundled OTT plans, particularly from JioFiber are lucrative, given they can access services at a significant discount of 40% to their retail prices, Shah pointed out.

They also converge well with the spike in sales of big television screens recently, a point made by senior executives of companies like Panasonic India, LG Electronics India, and Infinity Retail (Croma), at CMO Dialogues, a webinar organised by Mint earlier this week. They said 40- and 55-inch screens were in great demand due to their affordability, as well as increased usage.

“Especially for premium cinematic content platforms, large screen TV is the final home. While cheaper smartphones and data have revolutionized digital content market in India, large screen TV still remains the optimal medium for watching premium content. The recently started slugfest for broadband homes and FTTH (fibre-to-the-home) will certainly drive the next wave of revolution for content makers in India," said Rohit Jain, managing director, Lionsgate South Asia.

For streaming platforms, bundling with telcos is driven by the intent of expanding their audience base and launching large-scale shows featuring top Bollywood stars in the coming months.

According to data analytics and consulting company GlobalData, IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) subscriptions will grow at a CAGR of 19.4% during 2020-2025, supported by increasing fixed broadband penetration in the country which supports delivery of IPTV services.

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