The COVID-19 pandemic led lockdown made way for various brands to announce their entry into the OTT industry with their own set of channels, content and shows. The year 2020 witnessed an exponential growth in the addition of these platforms due to the remarkable increase in viewership as well as audience demand for online content.
As the country followed the lockdown guidelines strictly to avoid the spread of the virus, they mostly stayed indoors and worked from homes. This provided them with more time and unused data to explore other options of entertainment and information. People turned to OTT platforms due to their easy accessibility in sync with the developed internet infrastructures. The platforms had added advantages over the cable operated television networks as one could play and pause as per choice and select what and when to watch content.
While Hotstar, Amazon Prime and Netflix continue to be the major giants of the OTT platform industry there are various other players that deal with a specific type of content and present a plethora of channels to choose from the list for their audiences.
Here are the top 14 OTT platforms in India.
Voot is a video-on-demand platform that is a part of the digital arm of Viacom18. Viacom18 is one of India’s largest growing media networks. The platform provides its audience with a vast range of content choices and preferences. It has a pool of 45,000 hours of content which includes – COLORS (Hindi), MTV, Nickelodeon, Viacom18 Motion Pictures and MTV Indies. It offers the biggest TV Shows, Blockbuster movies, toons and VOOT originals.
Voot’s aim is to capture the digital video landscape with it’s fresh and new age content without any premium cost, currently. One of the major attractions of the platform is its original content as it covers a plethora of categories be it dramas, comedies, spoofs and everything else. So far the platform has managed to attract about 32 million active monthly users who spend an average of 50 minutes on the platform per day.
2.) ALT Balaji:
ALT Balaji is an ad-free subscription based service which is a product of film and television production house, Balaji Telefilms Ltd. It provides 32 original shows in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and Gujarati at a subscription price of Rs.300 per year. With this platform, Balaji wants to venture into clutter breaking content and have something for everyone. It is catering to the lack of content that is not only for Indian residents but also those living abroad.
Their ideology is that consumer will ultimately pave way for the kind of content they want to watch and ALT Balaji is here to diversify into various genres of content. ALTBalaji is focusing on content in Tamil, Gujarati, Telugu, Marathi along with stand-up comedy. It’s customers have seen over 434 million minutes of content so far and the average view time on the app has improved to 98 minutes. The platform has made it clear that it is not along the line of catch-up TV and is in it for original content.
BigFlix is Reliance Entertainment’s subscription-based movie streaming service. Last year in April, the platform got revamped and now has a subscription fee of Rs.50 per month after a month free trial. The service offers five user profiles, and HD quality streaming on up to five devices simultaneously. Considering that Indians have a growing consumption of digital entertainment on a daily basis, BigFlix is sure to fill the void created by the decline of the home video market by digitally delivering movies.
The platform boasts a huge collection of movies which has 2,000 titles across 9 languages including Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, Bhojpuri, and Bengali. It has tied up with the likes of Dharma, Disney, Viacom, Phantom, Telegu One and Rajshri. It is important to note that Reliance does not want to focus on English-centric content and will be very limited in size. It is claimed by Reliance that BigFlix has already a huge user base of 3.9 million users.
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4.) Amazon Prime Video:
A year after the launch of the biggie OTT player, Netflix – Amazon Prime Video launched in India. It is currently priced at Rs.999 per year. According to the Director of Content at Amazon Prime Video India, India accounts for the highest number of Prime members in the debut year, growing fastest among the 16 countries that the platform is present on. India is a price sensitive country and at it’s low priced subscription fee it gives the users great value for money.
Around 93% of the time that Indians spent on online videos, they were watching Hindi and regional language content. Amazon not only provides English centric content but also focuses on Hindi content as well as Regional content. It’s video content portfolio is led by Bollywood movies which is a popular content category in India. Amazon has also committed $300 million for original Indian content, roping in some big Bollywood names, besides internet content space.
Viu is launched in India by a Hong Kong-based PCCW Media company called Vuclip. It is a yet another video-on-demand service which is at a subscription fee of Rs.99 per month (after a one month trial) for those who wish to consume ad-free content and experience the premium version. Although it also has a free version with thousands of hours of content. The service boasts of 17,000+ hours of fresh Bollywood and Indian regional movies in 10+ languages. 70% of INR 100 Crore Club movies are on Viu alongside 3000+ hours of music and popular English serials.
Viu has established partnerships with content providers across India including Reliance Big Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., Sony Music, Zee Digital Convergence, Tips Industries Ltd., Balaji Motion Pictures, Rajshri Entertainment, Unisys Infosolutions, Shemaroo, Anand Audio, and BBC Worldwide. Studies have shown that freshness of content, as well as variety in the content catalog, are considered to be the most important to Indian viewers. All of this is what Viu delivers as entertainment for all and not just for the elite few.
6.) Sony LIV:
Sony LIV is an OTT service launched in 2013 which is developed by Multi-Screen Media. It is a mix of free and premium content and has partnered with SPI International in order to showcase seven more international television channels across different genres, in addition to the existing five. It’s premium content comes at a subscription cost of Rs.99 per month. It offers viewers shows from the Sony stable – SONY, SAB and MAX. Apart from enabling viewers to view current shows, Sony LIV will also allow subscribers to watch past episodes and movies and special events.
To enhance the viewing experience Sony LIV has three features – Mood Wheel, My Q and LIV Guru. The Mood wheel allows viewers to search for videos based on mood/genre and time preferences. The My Q feature enables the registered users to create their own playlists of their favorite videos, and enables them to watch it on devices, with a single login experience. The LIV Guru feature is Sony’s Loyalty Program for loyal fans and rewards engagement which works on a loyalty points system.
7.) Eros Now:
Eros Now is the OTT arm of Eros International which launched in 2015. The platform is working on building content around parent firm’s library of Bollywood movies besides creating a plethora of original content which is both in Hindi and English. It is also focusing on creating digital-first movies. It is a homegrown platform that has an active user base of 80 million registered users.
The most predominant content on the platform is Bollywood movies. Eros Now has endless entertainment hosting which is one of the largest libraries of movies of over 10,000 films, as well as premium television shows, music videos and audio tracks, unmatched in quantity and quality.
Product features, such as video in HD, multi-language subtitles, movie downloads, and high-quality original drama series differentiate the Eros Now entertainment offering. Their goal is to provide endless entertainment at consumers’ fingertips. It includes thousands of movies, hundreds of thousands of songs and lots of TV catch-up shows. There is also an aggregation of content from TV networks and showing them on a box-set basis.
Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) has launched its own over-the-top video streaming platform called ZEE5, which offers Indian and international movies and TV shows, music, live TV, and health and lifestyle content across 12 languages, including English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Odiya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati and Punjabi. It boasts over 1,00,000+ hours of TV shows along with 500 series from as many as 8 Indian languages.
Apart from Indian languages, ZEE5 offers an impressive collection of premium TV series from across the globe, including Turkish, Korean and Spanish shows in HD, exclusively available in Hindi. With LIVE TV on-the-go, users can choose from over 90 live TV channels and enjoy Hindi, English and Regional GECs, movie channels, News channels and Kids channels. This OTT service from ZEE also has a premium version which has a subscription fee of Rs.99 per month.
It is both local and global at the same time and is set to change the way consumers watch digital entertainment. ZEE5 will have content from both Ditto TV (their live TV platform) and Ozee (their video streaming platform), making it possible for users to browse content from both the platforms and also additional content that Zee has acquired for ZEE5.
Hotstar is a Star Network product that launched in February 2015. It has swiftly become one of the largest video-on-demand platforms in the country. Hotstar is the only platform where the best TV shows from around the world, movie premieres and live sports and events, are available on a single platform. It is the only service with content partnerships with the top three global studios – HBO, Fox, and Disney.
With nearly 100,000 hours of exclusive content across eight languages and coverage of the biggest sporting events from around the world including cricket, football, kabaddi, tennis, F1, badminton and more, Hotstar offers one of the biggest and most diverse content portfolios in the world. Its premium service is priced at a subscription fee of Rs.199 per month.
Hotstar has some user-friendly features such as – an adaptive video playback experience which automatically adjusts with the bandwidth that is available, it allows users to download their favorite content and consume it on the go and lastly users can also create playlists of their favorite content and keep it all organized. It’s important to note the grand success of this platform as in the first 40 days of its launch, Hotstar app downloads reached 10 million.
Netflix is the biggest OTT player that ventured into India in 2015. It is a US-based video streaming company which is now available in India at a starting subscription price of Rs.500 per month and goes up to Rs.800 per month after a free month of trial. While most of the OTT service platforms follow a mix of advertising-led and subscription fee-based business models, Netflix, in keeping with its global strategy is free of advertising In India.
In India, Netflix is pursuing recent Bollywood titles, notable indie films, memorable classic Bollywood titles and the best of regional cinema (Tamil, Gujarati, Punjabi, and Marathi).Although Netflix has a huge programming library, much of which appeals to Indian viewers, especially those who consume TV and movies in English, it still lags far behind in local language content.
Netflix which is ad-free allows an up leveling of entertainment experience at home. It is trying to stimulate this economy so that people invest in entertainment more.
The popular Indian video streaming and video on demand platform was re-launched as an OTT platform with original programming in 2019. They air various licensed content from different Indian as well as international brands with thousands of hours of original, premium as well as exclusive work. The platform is mostly focused on regional and Hindi based series, movies, music videos and short films which have received great responses from audiences and critics. With over 20 original shows and 50,000+ hours of premium content across languages including Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali and Bhojpuri, MX Player is one of the most subscribed and top OTT platforms in India.
The Sun TV Network run OTT platform was launched in 2017 when the rise in demand for SVOD and VOD content was exponentially rising an at its top. This OTT platform dealt majorly with the video content in 4 languages that are Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. They have also added Bengali as well as Marathi content recently. Sun NXT received a great response from the audience right after its launch where it got 1.1 million downloads in the first 4 days. Currently, Sun NXT is a host to over 20 million subscribers on the platform where they watch content in south Indian languages.
Launched in 2016, JioCinema is a popular SVOD and OTT platform that as around 7% market share among other competitors mentioned in the blog above. JioCinema has partnered with content brands such as ALTBalaji, Eros Now, Viacom 18 etc. to feature yet more engaging and useful content to attract most viewers. Their partnership with Disney India gave them rights to publish Disney content that was withdrawn after the company’s bond with Hotstar but JioCinema continued expanding their base by partnering with companies like Hoichoi to establish a presence in Bengali series and movies. It collaborated with leading android and IOs software firms to stream content on mobile devices which also helped them shake hands with Xiaomi and Intel for app integration that increased their credibility as an OTT platform.
It is an open OTT platform formed in 2015 that is popularly known for creating its original video content distributed across apps and websites. Arre is also a platform for streaming video content from other OTT giants like Netflix. They are known for making sketch comedy, web series, music videos, podcasts and documentaries for their audience. The Arre studios were developed to cater to the rising demand for original series and content among the viewers who were watching a lot of viral, snacky, short-form video content online. The brand not just added to the overall growth of OTT platforms in India but also provided clarity regarding originals and other video streams.
Read More – Hotstar vs Voot: Which Indian Streaming Platform is Better?
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I love to explore challenging opportunities in the field of Digital Media. Primarily, my skills revolve around Digital Video in terms of Content Strategy/Marketing, Analysis and Audience Development. My natural affinity towards diverse audio-visual content across platforms helps me develop a multitude of perspectives. In totality - I'm a keen learner, collector of new enriching experiences and have an undying conviction to always stay curious in life!