OTT: Regional content gains ground on Hotstar

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Updated: December 11, 2019 11:28:15 AM

As proliferation of cheap smartphones and affordable data take video consumption beyond metros, regional content has gained ground leading to increased demand for OTT platforms. The number of video OTT platforms increased to 32 in 2018 from less than 15 players in 2012, showed a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report.

OTT, Regional content, Hotstar, industry newsThe report said more than 300 million viewers watched IPL on Hotstar this year. About 64 million viewers participated in Watch ’N Play, twice as many as last year.

Notwithstanding losses of over Rs 550 crore in the year to March 2019, an increase of 43% year-on-year, Hotstar seems to be ahead in the OTT (over-the-top) game. With a content portfolio spanning over 100,000 hours and eight languages, the firm claims to have registered more than 400 million downloads in 2019 — a twofold increase in app installations and three times growth in consumption over the previous year.

As proliferation of cheap smartphones and affordable data take video consumption beyond metros, regional content has gained ground leading to increased demand for OTT platforms. The number of video OTT platforms increased to 32 in 2018 from less than 15 players in 2012, showed a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report.

Hotstar, which attributes this surge in app downloads to the firm’s endeavours to take “digital video consumption to new frontiers”, said regional content accounts for about 40% of overall content consumption on the platform. Tamil, Telugu and Bengali are the top regional languages on Hotstar. Close to 63% of the total online entertainment consumption came from non-metros, the company said in the India Watch Report 2019 released on Tuesday.

According to industry players, the internet’s Hindi user base is expected to outgrow its English counterpart by 2021. To tap into the Indian market where nearly 550 million consumers are estimated to take to online video viewing by FY2023, OTT firms have upped their regional play. Global players like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have been building on their India library while also ramping up their slate of originals. Last week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company is spending about Rs 3,000 crore on India content in the two years starting 2019.

Experts reckon Hotstar’s sports content is also a big draw — customer acquisition for the firm becomes easier. Star India that owns Hotstar paid an astronomical Rs 16,347.5 crore for the global broadcasting and digital media rights of Indian Premier League (IPL) for four years ending 2022.

The report said more than 300 million viewers watched IPL on Hotstar this year. About 64 million viewers participated in Watch ’N Play, twice as many as last year.

Hotstar’s revenue from operations grew by 95% year-on-year to Rs 1,112.74 crore in FY19. “Today, the Indian consumer enjoys a plethora of content to choose from, has moved beyond metro cities, and isn’t limited by gender or language. Hotstar, with its tremendous scale and reach across the country, is well-positioned to better understand this evolving consumer,” said Varun Narang, EVP & chief product officer at Hotstar.

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