A research conducted by Ormax Media revealed the Indian OTT market has grown by 20 per cent in 2022. The user base for OTT in the country is now pegged at 42.38 crore (423.8 million). Paid OTT users in India are now at 11.9 crore.
Top OTT platforms of the country have experimented with versatile content, rolled out various offers on monthly/yearly plans and taken other initiatives to keep the wide spectrum of viewers glued to their platforms. As the OTT gambit gained momentum, personalised viewing became a trend, which further encouraged experimental works and opened doors for many production houses. Industry leaders witnessed various trends evolving this year which is gradually paving the way for the platforms in securing a relevant position in the Indian entertainment space, giving huge competition to linear television.
Animation Xpress reached out to leading OTT platforms to get a clear understanding of the growth of the Indian OTT market, their milestones and future plans.
MX Player continues to rank two in India and #6 worldwide, in terms of downloads as per the latest State of Mobile Report by data.ai. Last year, MX Player witnessed growth opportunities with new products and services like MX Gold, MX Live, MX One, MX Blue, MX Studios, and MX Advantage. MX Player launched new exciting features on the local player – MCloud, Video Clipping, Video Downloader and Video Playlist. Also, on OTT, it has a separate MX Gold Tab and Watch Party.
MX Live launched to harness the power of live entertainment and grew rapidly to five million plus MAUs with over 2500 streamers clocking 11.5 million hours of watch time. MX One expanded its OTT subscription services in over 58 countries and MX Blue ad-free local player subscription service was launched in five countries
MX Studios launched several brand-funded shows like Uni ki Yaari, Business Baazi, Salesman of the Year and on 5 January, Spin Around Dubai was the latest release.
“We also saw award-winning superhit shows like Campus Diaries, Lock Upp, Aashram 3, Shiksha Mandal, the long format series Roohinayat and Tu Zakhm Hain, and our latest blockbuster Dharavi Bank was IMDb’s most anticipated show of the year, even before it launched. Fresh narratives, new faces, and diverse genres were our motto for this year and we have successfully managed to implement the same in our slate. We also experimented with long-format content and released two shows with episodes dropping weekly,” said MX Player chief operating officer Nikhil Gandhi.
MX Player has 250 million users in India and 350 million users globally in 2022.
They had launched MX Advantage as a one-stop solution for brands across India to leverage the power of content across formats, languages, and genres. With a promise to provide maximum entertainment and growth, the platform has been successfully empowering the digital advertising industry to advertise across all forms of entertainment through impact-driven campaigns, thereby helping them maximise ROI and achieve business objectives.
MX Player has also partnered with DanAds, a technology platform, to make it’s media and industry-leading advertising solutions available to small and medium businesses in India through MX Advantage.
“The largest lever for monetisation is advertising. We have advertising plans in multiple different demand segments and have more than 650 active advertisers on our platform. We are seeing humongous success from this outreach,” Gandhi said.
For QYOU Media India, it was quite an eventful year as they launched three IP channels: The Q Kahaniyan in the animation category, The Q Comedistaan in comedy genre, Q GameX – India’s first IP esports channel. These channels are available on their free ad supported video streaming app: Q Play as well as standalone FAST Channels on devices like Samsung Smart TV Plus, Chingari and others.
“Our channel’s viewership stands at an average of 15 million plus monthly viewers. We have also strengthened our reach on connected TV and are available across 100 plus leading smart TV brands,” said QYOU Media India chief operating officer Krishna Menon.
For Prime Video India also, 2022 was a landmark year, as they transformed from a pure SVOD service to an entertainment hub with the expansion of their video entertainment marketplace.
“We launched our Movie Rentals service, as well as expanded our channels offering by onboarding more OTT partners. As of date, under Prime Video Channels, we offer 15 regional and international Channels, including Lionsgate Play, discovery+, MUBI, Eros Now, AMC+, among others, with a lot more to be available soon. We doubled the number of Channel partners we work with, in a little over a year. Through our Movie Rentals offering, we released some of the biggest hits of the year like Spider Man: No Way Home, The Batman, KGF-2, Runway 34, Sarkaru Vaari Paata, Top Gun Maverick, Jurassic World Dominion, PS-1, Ram Setu, Black Adam, Thank God, 777 Charlie and many more,” Prime Video spokesperson shared.
Earlier in the year, Prime Video announced their biggest slate ever, with 40 plus titles across series, movies and co-productions to be launched over the next two years. Some have already been launched in 2022 and some that will launch in 2023 – 2024.
If you look at Netflix India, their members watched local and global stories across languages, genres and formats, with the uniqueness and entertainment factor being of utmost priority. With the finest films and series, captivating documentaries, entertaining reality shows and more, every night was a Netflix night in 2022.
They launched 27 Netflix films and series in India in 2022 across 10 plus genres and five formats. Seven out of nine films released this year featured in the global top 10 for non-English films and six out of seven returning seasons of Netflix series featured in the number one spot in TV shows in India.
Trends & strategies noticed in 2022
According to Menon, if we see the industry reports on India OTT market, urban markets are reaching a saturation point whereas on the other side regional content on OTT is gaining a strong foothold in small towns/cities and rural markets also owing to the boost of 5G, fibre connections and affordable data coming in the scenario. There’s also a growth of viewership coming in from connected TV audiences as smart TV brands/telcos/cable operators and others are bundling OTT subscription plans to get more consumers traction.
“Content acquisition is going to become judicious. With new technologies in hand, the reach of OTT will expand on the back of new technologies. Live streaming will be one of the superheroes of the OTT space in 2023. In 2023, what is actually going to increase is consumption of content in the form of gaming and in the form of education. Regional content will also continue to see growth,” he said.
Talking about trends noticed in terms of content consumption throughout 2022, Gandhi said, “The long-format experiment has been a success and now we are building an entire range of such content with at least four to five more shows in the pipeline. We have been one of the pioneers to invest heavily in regional shows with Queen (Tamil) and Samantar 1&2 (Marathi) and we will continue to do the same. In fact, Queen 2 is already in production.”
He further mentioned that over the past couple of years, the over-the-top (OTT) space in India has doubled in size.
“Despite the current economic uncertainties, entertainment on OTT platforms continues to offer an encouraging scenario. The sphere has exploded with strong subscription growth and increased investments in content. With digital content consumption on the rise, the OTT market in India is estimated to grow from $2.6 billion in 2022 at 20-23 per cent CAGR to $11-13 per cent in 2030, according to the report released by Confederation of Indian Industry and Boston Consulting Group titled Shaping the Future of Indian M&E. With increased attention toward content investment, India OTT market will continue to play a critical role in the future of the country’s M&E space,” Gandhi added.
Prime Video spokesperson mentioned that they made great strides in making the platform even more accessible to customers in the country. They launched a single-user mobile-only annual plan for users called Prime Video Mobile Edition at Rs 599 per year, making their exclusive roster of entertainment even more accessible to India’s mobile-first customers. A worldwide-first innovation, this is now being rolled out in other countries in South-east Asia and LATAM.
With their vision to build a service that appeals to all of India and the aim to be the first choice of entertainment for everyone, they back their content investments with focused, targeted marketing and disruptive promotional initiatives. For instance, they announced Varun Dhawan as Prime Bae. It is a unique consumer engagement program, a significant step to build an even more personal and deeper relationship with their viewers by delighting fans who constantly seek the latest information on updates on all the amazing series and movies in the works at Prime Video.
“Our efforts at super serving customers with content in local languages, genres and formats, have resulted in India today having amongst the highest proportion of Prime members who stream on Prime Video each month. We continue to see fantastic customer adoption with India witnessing the maximum number of new customers worldwide, who started streaming on Prime Video last year. In fact, we are doubling down – in the next five years, we are investing more than twice what we have invested in the last five years into growing Prime Video India,” the spokesperson said.
Sharing about QYOU Media India’s platforms plan for 2023, Menon said, “We are on the cusp of an explosion when it comes to CTVs in India. This entire ecosystem will become a big play over the next two years. We will further dive deep into the creator’s content economy and are looking to expand our content offering on Q Play by launching more channels and different entertainment formats in the next two years. We want to ensure that by the time it reaches its peak, we should have at least 10-15 FAST channels.”
Netflix India has planned an array of exciting stories coming up in 2023. For them their unique content is their prime strength.
As for Prime Video, they shared, “As 2023 rolls in, we at Prime Video will continue to build on the success we have seen in India in the last six years, expanding our content slate, adding more titles to our rentals selection, while also adding more OTT partners to Prime Video Channels. We have already announced two new theatrical co-productions with Dharma Productions – Yodha and an untitled film with Vicky Kaushal – both of which release theatrically in July 2023. This is, of course, in addition to a host of original and licensed series and movies that we plan to launch through the year.”
India’s growth story continues to remain strong with the next 100 million smartphone users taking the total user base up to 900 million plus in the coming years. India’s streaming video market is expected to double to $7 billion by 2027 (Media Partners Asia report). With the products and offerings, MX Player is well poised to seize this opportunity to optimise their market share and satiate the ever-growing entertainment appetite of our users.
“With a steady growth trajectory, we will continue to embark upon a journey that takes MX platforms to their next phase of growth by enhancing data-driven innovation, growing the scope and scale of revenue streams, and building maximum impact for all stakeholders. For MX Player in international markets, we plan to localise content for international markets that have huge potential for Indian content. Apart from that, we have also planned to launch an OTT aggregation service targeted at the Indian diasporas. Each of our businesses is showing excellent opportunities for growth and we have also planned exciting new products and services to be launched this year,” Gandhi mentioned about their plans for 2023.
With innovative strategies, versatile plans and robust content, the Indian digital platforms are constantly aiming to increase their diversified audience base in India. The Indian OTT space has grown over the years as more players have been entering the market which has intensified the competition and it will be interesting to witness how the platforms will continue to attract more users in the coming years.