The COVID-19 pandemic has been fruitful for Over The Top Industry, OTT Industry. Due to the lockdown implemented by the central government, cinema halls and malls have been shut for more than three months. Due to which the consumers had to resort to digital platforms.
According to a study by Velocity, MR titled ‘Surviving COVID-19 and beyond: A Consumer Perspective- Part 2’. Four out of five Indians subscribed to various streaming platforms during the lockdown, which resulted in a huge spike in the OTT subscriptions pan-India.
At present, India has nearly 66 streaming platforms under Indian companies. Besides, international streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Disney+Hotstar are important players in the market.
Top OTT platforms saw a rise in their subscriber base during the Coronavirus lockdown. Alt Balaji saw a huge growth in their new subscribers during the lockdown, besides, ZEE 5 registered a whopping 80 percent rise in new subscriptions.
Amazon Prime has seen a 67 percent growth in new subscriptions, while Netflix witnessed a 65 percent rise in subscriptions. Disney owned Hotstar saw a 41 percent increase in new subscriptions because of the impact of covid 19 on ott platforms.
Coping with the growth, a few big Hindi movies released on these platforms. Amazon Prime Video released Gulaboo Sitabo, directed by the critically claimed, Shoojit Sircar. The film featured successful actors Ayushmann Khurrana and Amitabh Bachchan.
Prime acquired seven Bollywood and Regional movies of which few have already been released on the platform due to Corona Virus Outbreak!
Television and OTT platforms are interdependent and produce very similar content. Content generated for Television, like serials and shows can be found on the platforms too. While some broadcast-based streaming platforms telecast content of platforms on Television. Smart TVs in households have access to both digital platforms and television channels. Viewers are getting intelligent on using both effectively as they find the content of their interest in both places. While some content like sports is preferred to be watched on TV by users.
Besides, Indian households beyond tier-II and tire-III cities are not yet equipped with broadband and telecommunications connectivity. The fact that one of the most-watched show during the lockdown is a re-telecast of the mythological epic Ramayana on Door Darshan (DD) National channel tells us that there is no threat for TV from digital platforms in the near future.
Indian OTT Industry will reach $5 billion in size by 2023, driven by rising affluence, increasing connectivity in rural markets, rising number of female consumers, older generations adapting to the platforms, according to a report by The Boston Consulting Group titled ‘Entertainment Goes Online’.
As many theatres are shut, there is an increased fear of OTT platforms taking over the entertainment market. However, in the last few years, OTT platforms are growing at a high rate in India. However, this didn’t affect theatrical releases. PVR and Inox saw a growth of $ 99.4 million and $ 62.5 million in their profits in the financial year 2019. And from $ 59.9 million and 28.6 million in the financial year 2014. The growth between the years when the OTT platform was established, shows that theatres are still the prime source of viewership for movies.
The present COVID-19 situation is likely to increase the shut down of theatres for some more time. And may affect many businesses. In China, very few people turned up to movies when theatres were open before lockdown. China was one of the biggest movie markets in the world.
Digital platforms may not replace movie halls, as many Indians prefer going to theatres for big movies. For many going out to watch a movie is a weekend outing they wait for, as most movies are released on Fridays. While some big actors’ family-type movies are watched by the whole family in theatres.
Mid-range and small range movies that are not able to spend on publicity in India. See OTT platforms as a golden opportunity to find an audience and get their movie publicized. However, big-banner movies will continue to rule the Indian cinema in theatres.