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Guess which OTT platform in India has the most subscriptions now?

Logos of OTT platforms in India
(Image credit: YouTube)
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Some interesting trends and numbers are emerging from the Indian streaming platform scene. Some of it is logical and predictable. Some of it not so.

One thing for sure is the Indian OTT platforms, which have come into their own since the pandemic kicked in early last year, are expected to keep up their revenue growth.

A media report on a recent conference on the trends in the industry said the total revenue in India's OTT segment will grow from $1.9 billion in 2021 to around $4.5 billion by 2026. Further, the overall India video market, including pay-TV, will grow to $18.2 billion in the same five-year period. 

Overall, India's current 102 million SVOD subscribers base is expected to zoom to 224 million by 2026.

Quite interestingly, advertising video-on-demand (AVOD) players are expected to rake in more money that subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) models. In other words, platforms like YouTube, which is the world’s largest AVOD platform, are expected to sustain their success. 

AVOD segment in India is expected to grow from $1.1 billion in 2021 to $2.4 billion in 2026. On the other hand, SVOD pie will grow from $0.8 billion to $2.1 billion in 5 years.

But, who has more subscribers?

Among the main OTT players, Disney+ Hotstar, which has an interesting slate of film-based entertainment and sports telecasts (read Indian cricket and the IPL), has the highest number of subscriptions. It accounts for a whopping 50% of the market, the report said. Amazon Prime Video has 19% of the market, while Netflix is third in the list with just 5% in volume terms.

However, when it comes to revenue among SVOD, Netflix, which has priced itself at a premium, tops with 29% of the market. It is followed by Disney+ Hotstar with 25% and Amazon Prime with 22%. 

So all things considered, it would seem that Disney+ Hotstar is doing reasonably alright on both the metrics.

At the conference, experts felt that apart from the pandemic that kept people indoors triggering new levels of demand for OTT content, other factors like India’s young demographics, increased connectivity and lower data costs, and improved digital payment systems are driving the growth of streaming platforms.

Subtitles, the saviour

It was said that the Indian language content on OTT platforms got around $1 billion over the past year.

Also, it emerged that audiences don't feel alienated by the language of the content as subtitles have helped break the language barrier to a large extent. As per Amazon Prime Video stats, more than 50% of viewership for its regional programming, including Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, comes from outside of their repective home States. 

Netflix reported a 400% increase in Korean content viewing, a 100% increase in kids programming and a 250% increase in non-scripted formats from all over the world.

While India is a mobile-first market, but there has been an increase in consumers accessing OTT services through smart TVs, whose market is also zooming. 

Aside from the numbers that the conference threw up, in general as of mid-June this year, the Indian OTT audience number (in totality) was pegged at 353.2 million (35.32 crore) and this translated into a penetration of 25.3%, which means that one in four Indians watch online videos at least once in a month. 

There were 96 million active paid OTT subscriptions in India, across 40.7 million paying (SVOD) audiences --- on an average of 2.4 subscriptions per paying audience member.

Balakumar K

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.