Netflix battles to ignite Indian audiences | OTT | News | Rapid TV News
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Netflix is lagging behind digital video competitors Hotstar, Voot, Amazon Prime and Sony LIV in India’s US$280 million over-the-top (OTT) market.

StrangerThings 1Dec2017Although it has made significant strides in India, according to research from New Delhi-based Counterpoint Technology, the US streaming giant has lost ground in particular to local rivals Hotstar and Voot, which have access to the extensive regional content libraries of its parent companies, Star TV and Viacom18.

“So far, Netflix has focused on pushing its global content such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Master of None, Stranger Things, Narcos, Daredevil, etc, to Indian subscribers. While it has made significant progress in adding regional content, it still has a lot of ground to make up on competitors,” said Hanish Bhatia, senior analyst at Counterpoint Technology.

India’s OTT video market is now valued at US$280 million with around 100 million subscribers, and is forecast to grow 35% year-on-year, he added.

India’s leading digital video platform Hotstar, owned by 21st Century Fox, is a hybrid revenue ‘freemium’ model, earning money through subscriptions as well as advertisements. Premium content, such as Game of Thrones and the latest movies from both Bollywood and Hollywood, are offered only to paying subscribers.

However, just 2-3% of Hotstar’s total subscriber base are paying customers, according to the market research company. Netflix, in comparison, has a 6% paid customer base in India for its subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, with the remainder taking advantage of its taster offer of 30 days access without charge.

Competition for India’s SVOD services also comes in the form of local content on YouTube, with media houses such as The Viral Fever and Y-Films releasing popular web series such as The Pitchers, Permanent Roommates, Tripling, Man’s World and Bang Baja Baraat.

Ultimately, cheaper data charges are fuelling increased consumption of digital content on broadband-connected mobile devices in India.

“The [OTT] market is expected to see tremendous growth with increasing smartphone penetration across India. Video consumption is not restricted to living rooms anymore, with easier access to video content while travelling, or teenagers watching their favourite web-series in their rooms,” said Counterpoint’s Hanish Bhatia.

“With availability of high speed 4G networks coupled with 130 million plus (and growing) smartphones being sold in India, we can expect consumption of video content to grow significantly in coming years and come to look similar to video content consumption on mobile in many other parts of the world where smartphones have become primary content consumption devices,” he added.
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