The cheap smartphones and data offered by Reliance Jio and Airtel are not merely helping users come online, but it is also helping online streaming apps like Hotstar, JioPlay and Netflix garnering more attention and eyeballs.
As more smartphones are bought, the number of downloads of apps has gone up along with the viewerships. Broadcaster Star India’s video streaming app Hotstar, which was at No. 1 spot in terms of monthly active in the first half of this year, saw a two-fold jump in viewers to 15,574 million minutes in August 2017 from 4,739.8 million minutes in August 2016.
Netflix also recorded increase in number of subscribers around the globe signed up for its popular original content in the latest quarter.
According to an RTI, in Feb, Netflix had 93.8 million subscribers, between 211,500-337,300 were from India. In Oct, the company said it added 5.3 million subscribers, beating expectations of 4.5 million. It plans to spend around $6-8 billion on original content.
This is good news for over-the-top (OTT) services, which are becoming increasingly popular, said industry experts. A whole lot of content is now being produced for the OTT space catering for varied audiences. And smartphones are found to be more suited for watching short-format content.It is gaining ground in regional markets too; YouTube has indicated regional viewership has trebled in the past two years.
In India, there are almost 30 apps now commanding a meaningful viewership. In 2016 global OTT video leaders such as Netflix and Amazon Prime made entry. This followed with the launch of broadcast network backed platforms, such as Voot (Viacom 18) and OZee (Zee TV). Reliance Jio and Airtel also started streaming apps.
Despite the penetration of smartphones in the country is just around 34%, but due to the availability of data at cheap price online streaming has seen sharp growth.
Jio offers wireless data services at below Rs 10 per GB. This is not all, Jio aggressive approach has led most operators like Airtel, Vodafone to offer unlimited downloads at prices which are lower than those for fixed use.
According to a Financial Express report, the OTT medium has the potential to attract eyeballs and bring in incremental advertising revenues, especially in the area of sports. In the latest auction for IPL media rights, the highest bid for the digital rights came in at Rs 39,000 crore for a five-year period or Rs 7,800 crore a year.
That’s a near eight-fold rise over the Rs 100 crore paid in FY16. Industry experts say digital advertising will continue to grow at a fast clip of 31% compounded between 2016 and 2021 with video advertising remaining the preferred medium with improving data speeds and higher mobile penetration. Over the year, the OTT Video on Demand (VoD) services have also seen an upsurge.