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Streaming companies set eyes on connected television in festive times

Video streaming services in India are targeting family audiences as the popularity of connected TV sets continues to rise. Netflix is premiering family-oriented shows, SonyLIV is launching an over-the-top version of MasterChef India, JioCinema is focusing on Bigg Boss, and Disney+Hotstar will show premium sports tournaments.  (Photo: iStock)
Video streaming services in India are targeting family audiences as the popularity of connected TV sets continues to rise. Netflix is premiering family-oriented shows, SonyLIV is launching an over-the-top version of MasterChef India, JioCinema is focusing on Bigg Boss, and Disney+Hotstar will show premium sports tournaments. (Photo: iStock)

Summary

Experts predict that the demand for family entertainment on streaming platforms will increase during the festive season, as more users choose to stay home. Connected TVs are expected to exceed 40 million daily active users by 2025.

Video streaming services are preparing to attract family audiences, capitalising on the increasing popularity of connected TV sets in India. For instance, Netflix is premiering shows like Khufiya and The Archies this quarter, while SonyLIV is betting on an over-the-top version of MasterChef India. JioCinema is riding the buzz for Bigg Boss, and Disney+Hotstar will show premium sports tournaments.

Industry experts expect further surge in connected TV penetration, driven by family-oriented shows, following the success of the Indian Premier League earlier this year, particularly as more users opt to stay home. “The festive season offers a good opportunity as we see rising demand for family entertainment from audiences on streaming platforms. Throughout the festive span, demand stays with co-viewing increasing with popularity and growth of connected TV sets," Manish Kalra, chief business officer, ZEE5 India, said.

The company launched an Independence Day campaign in August, with 76 SVoD titles streaming free of cost in addition to a discount of 100 on its annual subscription. The platform tied up with MumbaiCha Raja for the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations as their exclusive OTT partner, besides rolling out short-format festive originals like Duranga season two in Hindi, Chhotolok in Bengali, Prema Vimanam in Telugu.

Industry experts said with the rise of connected TVs and family viewing, content preference of audiences is becoming diverse. “Hence, OTTs are widening their content spectrum and experimenting with a lot more genres as there are takers for every kind of content now. Distribution is also a major factor to bring in a wider and diverse array of audiences," Soumya Mukherjee, chief operating officer, hoichoi said.

Despite reopening of theatres, OTT platforms have several advantages, especially for family viewing, Rakesh C.K., senior vice-president, head, of SVoD and business strategy at aha Video, said. “They provide diverse content, and exclusive releases, with the convenience of on-demand streaming. OTT platforms adapt to family preferences, ensuring a safe and flexible viewing experience at affordable prices." Connected TVs enhances this accessibility, he added.

The platform that actively programs to ensure that big releases coincide with festive or holiday weekends, has adapted its pricing to cater to diverse preferences. The mobile plan at Rs. 99 per quarter is offset by the annual premium plans for Rs. 899 that offers 4K, Dolby sound, and early content access.

Smart-connected TVs will exceed 40 million daily active users by 2025, providing many viewing options to consumers, Sameer Jain, managing director at management consultancy Primus Partners said. That said, families viewing an OTT platform can replace the previous monopoly of television broadcasters but not the unique experience of movie theatres, he added.

Nikhil Kumar, vice-president (India and south east Asia), mediasmart, a programmatic advertising platform said in the post-pandemic world, CTV has cemented its place as the dominant platform where many households prefer to unwind, cutting the cord from linear television. In fact, mediasmart’s past India-based research studies showed that 84% households have more than one person watching CTV, while 64% respondents claimed to prefer watching CTV together with their families, over the solo viewing experience. “Holidays and festive seasons witness a notable spike in OTT content consumption, with platforms strategically scheduling special releases for family enjoyment. Traditionally, the quarter from October to December contributes to the majority of consumer spending as well as marketing budgets. We see an uptick in advertiser interest who want to leverage this opportunity to be in front of their potential customers and capture a larger share of wallets. This season is particularly interesting as the cricket World Cup coincides with the festive season," Kumar added.

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