Globalisation and high-end technology have popularised the culture of online streaming among youth and young adults. Rise of Over-the-top (#OTT) media with easy Internet accessibility led to global online platforms like #Netflix, #AmazonPrime and #Hotstar.
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Given the nationwide lockdown scenarios across the world due to Coronavirus, there has been an increasing ‘appetite of viewers’ for online streaming. According to world’s leading marketing cloud- InMobi, there has been a rapid surge of 46% viewers consuming online content from OTT platforms.
This growing need for ‘entertainment’ during the pandemic, has boomed the market share of many OTT platforms. The Indian government had first announced the nationwide lockdown on 24th March 2020 followed by other repetitive measures. This forced all companies and work spaces to shut down their offices and shift to work-from-home status. The unpredictable pandemic has led to irreversible imbalance between ‘work life’ and ‘personal space’. The leisure of ‘Netflix-ing’ only during weekends, has now penetrated into our daily schedule. As we sit on our comfortable ‘homely’ sofas or beds and turn on to our ‘Digital-office’, the idea of ‘online streaming’ baits us to ‘take a break’.
With people having more time to spend at home, OTT platforms in India like Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, #Zee5, ALTBalaji and #Voot Select have started the repeat telecast of old content, luring us with few ‘free shows’ and carrying out sustained advertisement campaigns. Zee5 has reported 80% increase in subscriptions and 50% growth in time spent to watch the shows. The global Netflix subscription numbers have rose over 47% with high Indian viewership interest in Amazon Prime. The recent initiative to club Hotstar with ‘Disney’ has increased the number of viewership among children by manifolds. With more than 30 OTT platforms and over 10 music streaming apps, many new faces are coming up with their debuts and ‘fresh content’ to generate more subscribers.
However, video streaming platforms have long capitalised the absence of any regulatory mechanism for their content. As a result, different OTT platforms have substantially gained from adult and explicit content during Covid-19 lockdown. The adult comedy, ‘Mastram’ has marked 11 million single day streams, while the erotic horror show ‘Ragini MMS Returns’ showed most popular offerings. Netflix has reportedly appealed to a greater mass with the erotic thriller- ‘Fatal Affair’. The news of subsequent seasons of Mirzapur and Sacred Games showing violent scenes and use of explicit language have already hooked many viewers to their screens.
Sanjeev Lamla, the Executive Producer of Hungama Originals said that, “The sense of accessibility is new. Plus, the OTT audience in the country is split in favour of males in an almost 65:35 ratio.” The Amazon sex comedy, ‘Rasbhari’ has further contributed in the increased audience engagement on online streaming platforms. The Cellular Operators Association of India has expressed their concern about the rapid traffic on OTT platforms, that shall further weaken the data bandwidth and affect the seamless experience of such a large audience.
– Arishmita Aditya
The Financial Express
Times of India