For all those who are interested in video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and the like, but are too lazy to undertake the hassle of subscribing to them, paying and renewing subscriptions, there is help at hand in this age of convenience.
Just ask your mobile phone operator to do the needful, but don’t expect any free data because of the discriminatory tariff regulation brought out by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) prohibiting any freebies if the same content is available on the Internet. All you would get is a bundled package, like voice and data, and will have to pay at a single point instead of multiple payment points.
It works something like this. To subscribe to Amazon Prime, for instance, you need to pay an annual subscription fee of Rs 999. The better alternative could be to get on to the Rs 499 monthly tariff pack of Bharti Airtel, which, apart from providing unlimited local, STD and incoming and outgoing roaming calls, with access to 40GB of 3G/4G data (with rollover facility), will also offer a one-year subscription of Amazon Prime. Further, you can also watch a range of content on Airtel TV —from original series by AltBalaji to movies on Hooq and music via Wynk.
What Airtel does is just offer you the convenience of single-pack access. It does not provide you any free data to watch these.
“Consumers are usually reluctant to register on multiple platforms. So when a telecom operator aggregates content and provides a single-window access to customers through its own app, the process is simplified. This also eliminates the need for multiple app downloads, registrations and logins,” says Sameer Batra, CEO, Wynk. “Most platforms are yet to develop a payment mechanism. Users are still required to pay either through a debit or credit card or net banking. A single bill generated by telecom operators makes it easier to pay for the services, without giving away card or other bank-related details to several platforms,” feels Ashish Pherwani, partner and leader, advisory services, EY.
It is not just Bharti Airtel that provides such convenience. Other mobile operators also have tariff packages that offer access to video streaming platforms. Vodafone India’s post-paid customers on a Rs 499 monthly pack, for instance, get to watch a range of content through its app — Vodafone Play. Those wanting to watch content on Netflix can opt for the Rs 999 monthly rental plan.
Similarly, Reliance Jio subscribers on a monthly rental of Rs 309 have access to all entertainment apps, including Jio TV, Jio Cinema, Jio Music, etc.
There are two kinds of deals that an OTT player and a telecom operator sign. Under the first arrangement, a telecom operator agrees to show programmes at a deferred date, after being aired on the original platform. In case of the second arrangement, a viewer, when clicks on a film or web series, is taken to the original platform through a hyperlink. For instance, viewers of both Airtel TV and Jio get to see content on Hotstar via its link on the two platforms. However, consumers still need to subscribe to Hotstar’s premium content separately. Analysts say such aggregation would increase by the day and accessing video OTT content through mobile operators could be the order of the day.