The Big OTT Growth Story: Chapter 3

22 Nov,2019


This is the third in a series of columns on the OTT Growth Story in India.

Links to previous chapters: Chapter 1, Chapter 2

By Shailesh Kapoor

76.5 Million. That’s the all-important number to look at from The Ormax OTT Audience Report: 2019. The recently-concluded research, designed to size and profile the OTT audience market in India, took up the task of first measuring the number of ‘regular’ OTT audience that exist in the country currently.

The definition of ‘regular’ can be subjective. Based on our category experience and market feedback, we defined it as: Audience who watch online videos for at least two hours every week, and use at least one OTT platform/ app, apart from YouTube and social media, to watch videos.

The study covered 15+ audiences, and hence, does not include kids. It emerged that 76.5 Million, or 7.65 Crore, is the size of this market in India currently. The next track in 2020 will establish the growth rate. The question is: How small or big is this number?

Comparing to TV universe can make the number look very small at this early stage of the OTT category. But a more obvious comparison can be made to the theatrical universe. The Bollywood regular theatre-goers universe stands at 33.3 Million, or 3.33 Crore. Add the unduplicated components of regional universes, especially the bigger ones in Tamil and Telugu, and the overall regular theatre-goers universe in India touches the 6 Crore mark.

Let that sink in. The regular OTT audience universe in India is already bigger than the regular theatre-goers universe in India. And the former is growing in top gear, while the latter has flattened out for almost a decade now. This gap will only get wider.

Only 15% of the regular OTT universe belongs to the top 6 metros in India. There’s a healthy longtail, created because of falling data costs and the penetration of Jio into small towns and villages in the last 2-3 years. But there’s enough scope for growth across markets. Mumbai and Delhi, the top 2 cities, have about 3.0 Million regular OTT audience each, which is nowhere close to saturation, given the huge adult population of these big metros. The equivalent theatre universe size in these metros is 3.2 Million (Mumbai) and 2.8 Million (Delhi). Hence, the two biggest cities have similar OTT and theatrical universe sizes. It’s beyond the metros, where theatre penetration, content relevance and ticket pricing remain key issues, that theatre-going habit loses out to OTT, a scenario that would have seemed quite unlikely till three years ago.

The recent trend of films going directly to OTT (read here) is another sign of how OTT has emerged as a robust option for entertainment, and the price factor, which would have earlier been a big discussion point (“Indians are not used to paying for ‘television’ content”) is slowly becoming a lesser factor, with most OTT platforms coming up with rationalized pricing packages for the Indian market.

As an aside, Amazon Prime Video’s The Family Man has emerged as the big show of the year, scoring an Advocacy Rating of 80, just a point below Sacred Games S1, to become the second most-liked India OTT show ever. A few more such winners and the OTT universe will continue to flourish.

125 Million by 2020?



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