Work-from-home drives up demand for OTT content, subscription

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Published: March 25, 2020 1:40:01 AM

Raghav Anand, segment leader, digital media, at EY, said digital as a sector will grow both in terms of viewership and advertising since other avenues of entertainment have temporarily taken a hit.

The platform has also seen more consumption in international markets led by Europe, Japan and Bangladesh, Mohta said.The platform has also seen more consumption in international markets led by Europe, Japan and Bangladesh, Mohta said. (Representative image)

Social distancing and work-from-home have prompted more Indians to sign up for video over-the-top (OTT) services, providers claim gleefully, saying there’s been a jump in subscriptions and consumption. Hiren Gada, CEO at Shemaroo Entertainment, told FE viewers were more than happy to watch old Bollywood movies and older shows on ShemarooMe. And given that television shoots have been temporarily stalled, and one won’t see new episodes aired for a while, it won’t be surprising if more OTT content is consumed.

Tarun Katial, CEO, Zee5 India, said subscriptions were up 10% in the second week of March over to the first week. Consumption of original content has grown by more than 10% while the increase is a more modest 5% for television content (catch-up TV and live TV) through connected devices like Amazon Fire Stick. “Key metros have contributed the most to the rise in content viewing,” Katial pointed out.

Bengali streaming platform Hoichoi claimed traffic has almost doubled since March 18 and that viewers are watching more thrillers and detective shows. The average consumption has increased to 60 minutes per day from around 50 minutes earlier, co-founder Vishnu Mohta said, adding that original shows like Shobdo Jobdo and Byomkesh Season 5 are showing good streaming numbers. The platform has also seen more consumption in international markets led by Europe, Japan and Bangladesh, Mohta said.

Voot Select, an SVOD-only service, introduced just three weeks back, has seen nearly three times more subscriptions than estimated, according to CEO Ferzad Palia. Original shows — Asur and Marzi — found instant popularity, Palia said. A slate of three Hindi originals and five regional shows has been readied for release in addition to international content which will be premiered in India.

Karan Bedi, CEO at MX Player, said time spent by viewers on the platform has more than doubled over the past week with originals as a category leading the surge. Bedi claimed there has been a whopping 200% spike in consumption of live news channels while iOS users are increasingly downloading the app. “Viewers are also experimenting with new genres and languages,” he said. Eros Now has launched a stay safe campaign wherein consumers can get a free subscription for two months, provided they sign up before March 31, said CEO Ali Hussein.

Raghav Anand, segment leader, digital media, at EY, said digital as a sector will grow both in terms of viewership and advertising since other avenues of entertainment have temporarily taken a hit. “More consumers are paying for access to premium OTT content since they are at home. Short-form videos, typically viewed during commutes have given way to short clips for news sharing, Anand said. Jehil Thakkar, partner at Deloitte, estimates video OTT consumption to have seen a growth of anywhere between 10%-15% over the last 10 days or so. The numbers are likely to go up further if the current situation persists, Thakkar added. Amazon Prime Video said on Tuesday it will make available some free content — a selection of kids and family programmes for all Amazon customers.

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