OTT redefined entertainment and made cinema accessible to people in a very difficult year, while also challenged the film industry to think outside the box and think of narratives that push the boundaries.
The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown played a crucial role in scaling up content consumption in the web space. The lockdown phase acted as a catalyst in transforming the content availability to digital, based on the evolving consumption habits of the viewer who is now constantly available on digital touch points; converting fence-sitters to subscribers.
"As we have always strived towards massification of content, tier 2, 3 towns are essential markets for us. While we saw the consumer engagement, subscriptions and watch time escalate substantially this year, one of the major content consumption trends that we've seen this year is that earlier 60% of our consumers would come from the top tier 1 cities, and 40% would come from Tier 2 and 3 cities in the months preceding the lockdown. Now it's the opposite," notes Nachiket Pantvaidya, CEO, ALTBalaji and Group COO, Balaji Telefilms.
In addition to that, the audience mindset has drastically changed, with the desire to pay for quality content, as they invest their time in that content. This change is bound to create large audience pools whether originals, movies, music, news, games or sports across entertainment industry.
"It redefined entertainment in that it made cinema accessible to people in a very difficult year.The OTT industry has challenged us also to think outside the box and think of narratives that push creative boundaries," shares producer Anand Pandit, whose film Big Bull is headed the OTT way.
In terms of viewership, business, subscription, and acquisition of projects for the platforms, there has been a massive change this year for the OTTs.
Our active subscription grew 2.6 times versus November 2019. Our engagement grew 1.3 times and our average subscription grew three times. Traffic has been witnessed from all towns of India and the preferred language was Hindi followed by Telugu. The preferred genre was crime and thriller. Originals like Abhay season 2, Taish, Bicchoo Ka Khel, The State of Siege: 26/11, Lalbazaar have been a runaway success," a ZEE5 spokesperson shared.
Consumers got used to one kind of entertainment habit. It was more to do with going to the theatre with your family to watch a movie weekend and or sitting in front of TV. But when fresh content stopped coming to the TV and theatres shut, essentially it broke a lot of inertia about OTTs.
"We posted a growth of 6.9 million paid subscribers which is the largest six month growth for us ever in the history. It was great. Over all in terms of metrics, we were up in terms of unique viewers, repeat viewers, time spent, we were up about 70 to 100 percent in over all engagements. And our overall growth on the smart TV or large screen segment was 2 and half to three times more compared to pre lockdown scenario, that was more encouraging aspect," says Ali Hussein, CEO, Eros Now India.
With an average daily subscriber addition of 9000 in Q2FY21, increase in watch time and engagement per consumer, ALTBalaji witnessed an incredible jump in viewership in India.
"We also witnessed an uptick in international subscriptions along with a significant jump in watch-time by 2X in Q2 FY21 as compared to Q2 FY20," adds Pantvaidya.
Ferzad Palia, Head- Voot Select, Youth, Music and English Entertainment, Viacom18, says, "I think even after lockdown has been lifted, we see a very good growth across the board both ad supported business and subscription business. We have been one of the fastest growing subscription services by now. It has got a lot to do with the fact that we had a bank of content because we were just launching. We also shot and created the world's first full blown series form home which is the Gone Game."