During the first lockdown, the entertainment industry was severely harmed, as all existing production projects – new shows and films – came to a halt, resulting in a fresh content gap on television and in theatres. The movie theatres were closed, and repeats of old shows were broadcast on television.
Consumers were compelled to seek out other types of entertainment, and they began to experiment with existing OTT services. These platforms boasted a large collection of movies (in a variety of languages) and original series that promised to keep customers entertained.
The COVID-19 pandemic, like most other industries, was a game-changer for the media and entertainment industry. If the previous decade was defined by PVRs and INOXs, 2020 has been dubbed the year of OTT entertainment, with cineplexes and movie theatres closing for most of the year.
People all over the world resorted to computer displays for entertainment when they were stuck inside their homes.
Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, SonyLIV, Amazon Prime Video, and Voot are just a few of the OTT video streaming sites that have exploded in popularity in India. OTT viewership in India has reached an all-time high, according to NASSCOM.
The COVID-19 problem expedited the process of OTT platforms building a name for themselves in the Indian market. The OTT revolution has come a long way from only two OTT platform providers in 2012 to around 40 companies presently.
In the first few months of the pandemic, Netflix, which had been struggling to recruit new subscribers in the United States for nearly two years, saw a 47 percent increase in subscriptions globally. The stock of the American OTT platform rose over 33% to a two-year high in April of last year, as the company saw a surge in new subscriptions.
India currently has the world’s fastest-growing OTT market. By 2023, it is expected to be worth $5 billion, according to BCG. But what exactly sped up this expansion last year?
- 1 Taking advantage of the chance:
- 2 From analogue to digital:
- 3 Netflix, Disney+, Hotstar, and ZEE5 were among the first to do so. Since then, more than 25 Bollywood films have debuted on digital platforms:
- 4 Consumption-behavioral change:
- 5 This has been a year of firsts for a lot of people:
- 6 To Conclude:
- 7 Also Read:
Taking advantage of the chance:
While Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, and Amazon Prime Video continue to dominate the OTT industry, there has been a surge in the number of video-streaming services in the previous 12 to 15 months. There were over 40 video streaming providers at the time of the last count.
Discovery Channel launched its India-focused video-streaming service Discovery+ in March 2020, just a few months after Disney+ premiered on Hotstar in India and before National Geographic’s material began streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
In December 2020, Lionsgate, the Hollywood studio behind films such as La La Land, Hunger Games, and The Twilight Saga, debuted their OTT service in India. The portal includes 120 Oscar-nominated and 187 Emmy-nominated titles, as well as Hollywood blockbusters, English TV shows, and online series.
Samsung also revealed that its video streaming service TV Plus will be launched this year.
Reliance launched JioTV+, an integrated OTT service, at its 43rd AGM in July 2020, betting on a whole different ballgame. Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix, Eros Now, ZEE5, and Jio Cinema other video streaming services will all be included in the service.
From analogue to digital:
Prior to the pandemic, OTT existed in the shadow of cineplexes and movie theaters, with only a few films created specifically for OTT. The majority of films were first released in theaters before being distributed on OTT. However, due to the growing closure of movie theaters and cineplexes, major film companies have turned to video-streaming sites to sell their unreleased films.
In addition, while Netflix received over 100 film pitches in the first several weeks of the statewide lockout, Hollywood media reports indicated that Amazon Prime Video only received approximately half of that.
“Because we were closed during the pandemic, a lot of movies went to OTT services. If one source of revenue is closed, we have little choice but to look for other sources of income. That being said, we are now open and operational, and yes, they will coexist in the same manner as we did previous to the epidemic… That’s the kind of normalcy we’ll need to get back to, and both OTT and theatres, I believe, will have their own audiences.”, Stated Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, Joint MD of PVR Ltd.
Gulabo Sitabo, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushman Khurrana, premiered on Amazon Prime Video in June, kicking off the trend of OTT-first films.
Netflix, Disney+, Hotstar, and ZEE5 were among the first to do so. Since then, more than 25 Bollywood films have debuted on digital platforms:
Dil Bechara, Soorarai Pottru, Ludo, Raat Akeli Hai, and Chintu Ka Birthday, among others, were initially released on OTT platforms. Scam 1992, Panchayat, Bandish Bandits, Special OPS, Aarya, and Asur were among the OTT hits.
Direct-to-digital releases like Gulabo Sitabo and Shakuntala Devi were watched across 4,000 cities and towns in India within the first week of coming online, according to Gaurav Gandhi, Director and Country General Manager of Amazon Prime Video India at TechSparks 2020.
Despite movie theatres opening up for viewers, industry analysts predict that this digital-first trend is not a COVID-19 fad and will outlast the pandemic.
According to Aparna Acharekar, Programming Head of ZEE5 India, the tide has turned, and the figures now reflect this segment’s enormous potential and reach… Digital rights are also beneficial economically for production firms because they turn into new customers and streaming hours for platforms.
YouTube recorded a 20.5 percent increase in subscribers in India only a month after the country was placed on a statewide blackout. Surprisingly, mobile devices accounted for almost 90% of video views, showing media consumption trends.
“The increase was fueled by environmental factors…” The majority of homes in India have just one television. As a result, the phone acts as the house’s TV,” Gaurav explained.
Approximately 325 million Indians are expected to be watching the online videos now, either for free or for a fee. According to the Broadband Indian Forum, rural India accounted for almost 65 percent of OTT use during the shutdown. “To claim OTT isn’t widespread is inaccurate,” Gaurav added. It’s very, very deep. “It’s not a metro issue.”
In November of last year, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting sought to bring platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, and other services that offer “audiovisual programmes,” as well as online news portals and sites that offer “current affairs” content, under its purview due to rising OTT consumption across geographies.
This has been a year of firsts for a lot of people:
Last year, Filmfare held its first-ever OTT Awards — the Flyx Filmfare OTT Awards — to celebrate excellence in the digital entertainment field, validating the journey of digital entertainment and positioning it on par with the traditional entertainment business.
The Indian OTT sector shone brightly not only within the country but also internationally. The greatest triumph came in November of last year when Netflix India’s original drama series Delhi Crime was awarded the International Emmy for Best Drama Series. According to Gaurav, one out of every five viewers of Amazon Prime Video’s Indian original content is from outside the country, with direct-to-digital films being viewed in 180 countries.
Other Indian films have been nominated for Emmy Awards, including Amazon Prime Video’s Four More Shots Please, which was nominated for Best Comedy. In addition, for his part in Amazon Prime Video’s Made in Heaven, actor Arjun Mathur was nominated for Best Performance (Actor).
Not only that, but The White Tiger, a Netflix India original starring Adarsh Gaurav, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Rajkumar Rao, has been nominated for the upcoming Academy Awards, or Oscars, in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.
Every business is flocking to OTT platforms, and a sizable portion of ad revenue is following suit. Brands can receive reach, targeting, performance, and thorough data that they couldn’t achieve with traditional media like television or print. Furthermore, the money spent on television will shift to over-the-top (OTT) services in the future.