Star India-owned video over-the-top (OTT) platform Hotstar seems to be popular among users, given that mobile accounts for more than 90% of watchtime versus other platforms such as desktop, according to latest data shared by its parent — Novi Digital Entertainment. “As data prices have reduced besides mobile handsets becoming more affordable than earlier, consumers’ viewing pattern has gone through a change. From watching short clips on the web, viewers have developed an appetite for long-format premium content,” Ajit Mohan, CEO, Hotstar said. Star India had launched Hotstar in February 2015, right before the ICC Cricket World Cup. Hotstar currently has a monthly subscriber base of about 100 million. According to a report released by Counterpoint Research in December 2017, the video OTT market is currently valued at $280 million with nearly 100 million subscribers.
The market, which is estimated to grow at a rate of 35% Y-o-Y, has Hotstar as the largest player with 75 million monthly active subscribers, followed by Viacom18’s Voot at 22 million, Amazon Prime Video at 11 million subscribers and Sony Liv and Netflix at 5 million each. According to Hotstar, viewership on the platform peaks between 9 and 10 pm thus indicating that prime-time viewing is now also on mobile besides TV. Moreover, videos longer than 20 minutes in duration account for 96% of watchtime on Hotstar. Also, one-third of all Hotstar’s entertainment viewers watch their shows primarily on the platform instead of TV.
Besides entertainment content, the video OTT platforms telecast sports content. For example, Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL), Indian Super League (ISL) and Pro Badminton League (PBL), apart from one-day cricket tournaments, are some of the sports tournaments shown on the app. As per Hotstar, Vivo IPL posted six-and-a-half fold growth in watchtime in 2017 over 2016. Similarly Pro Kabaddi registered ninefold growth in watchtime on Hotstar in 2017. In fact, among Kabaddi viewers, non-metro cities grew its share of watchtime to 40% in 2017 from 10% in 2016.
Mohan added that while cricket still remains the most-followed sports across medium, Hotstar has played a crucial role in expanding the reach of other sports to people living in small towns. “The platform has eased constraints of distribution of other sports such as badminton, football, kabaddi, etc. In fact, such is the demand for live sports content that users are ready to pay for it,” he added.
Media analysts point out that live sports content has played a crucial role in driving user base of Hotstar besides attracting advertising revenue. In the last three years, Hotstar has a build a big bank of sports content including cricket, soccer, badminton, among others. This has not only helped it draw eyeballs, advertisers too consider it a serious platform to advertise,” Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Media Brands, said.