Half of India’s internet users to log on from rural India by 2020, thanks to digital entertainment

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New Delhi | November 22, 2018 4:53 PM

Given the challenges of electricity availability, TV screen, cable connections, it is possible that rural India adopts OTT even ahead of cable viewing.

internet users, rural India, india internet users, digital entertainment, BCG, smartphone penetration, OTT marketThe penetration of internet in rural areas could grow to as much as 35% that could drive over-the-top (OTT) services to take off in rural India, said the report titled Entertainment Goes Online. (Representative image: Reuters)

By 2020, half of the internet population in India will be from rural India, said a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The penetration of internet in rural areas could grow to as much as 35% that could drive over-the-top (OTT) services to take off in rural India, said the report titled Entertainment Goes Online.

The study notes that there are around 197 million rural households with a TV, of which 160 million are cable and satellite (C&S) TV households. Smartphone penetration among such households is much higher than. “Given the challenges of electricity availability, TV screen, C$S connections, it is possible that rural India adopts OTT even ahead of C&S viewing in some areas,” the report added.

BCG pegs the OTT market to reach $5 billion-mark driven by factors including better data connectivity and fall in its data, higher smartphone penetration, favourable demographics and increased supply of OTT content.

The report maintains that both ad-supported and consumer pay model will co-exist even as the consumer pay model could range from subscription video on demand to transactional video on demand in categories such as films and sports.

At present, 16% of media consumption in India is already on digital media, the report said. “Affordable data has created an alternative medium where consumers, for the first time, can tap into content on the basis of an individual’s preference at a time and space convenient to them. While the current market operates with a largely advertising paid content paradigm, consumers are not averse to paying for the convenient content access that OTT unlocks,” said Kanchan Samtani, Partner and Director, BCG, in a statement.

The numbers of players too in the Indian OTT market have increased in the last six years from nine to 32 in 2018. Moreover, in less than a year, time spent on video has jumped 11%, even as smartphone users spend incrementally less time on social media, browsing, gaming and calling.

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