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OTT apps: more ways to binge watch

Watching OTT video streaming platforms becomes easier with new distribution mechanisms

The distribution of video streaming apps in India seems to have come of age. Direct-to-home (DTH) companies such as Tata Play and Airtel have introduced products that deal with over-the-top (OTT) video streaming distribution. Airtel’s Tata Play Binge+ and Xstream Premium set-top boxes bring together several Indian and international OTT apps for streaming to TVs.

In September 2021, Amazon Prime Video launched its “Channels” service. Additionally, MX Player, which aggregates content from multiple OTT apps, puts some content from those apps behind a paywall.

“India has over 40 SVoD (subscription video on demand) services, although the top five players earn 90% of the revenue. For the long tail of niche services, the economy per subscriber becomes unachievable, considering given the high cost of acquisition,” observes Mihir Shah, VP, Media Partners Asia, so super-aggregation is imminent, especially for niche/regional players.

According to Deloitte’s TMT Predictions Report 2022, India has about 40 video streaming apps and 102 million paid content subscribers. The OTT category, which accounts for 7-9% of India’s overall entertainment space, is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 20% to reach $13-15 billion over the next decade. But overcoming distribution challenges will be key to growing subscription revenue. Currently, the SVoD market is worth $0.8 billion; it could reach $2.1 billion by 2026.

Seamless Diffusion

The Deloitte report estimates that each paying customer in India has, on average, 2.4 subscriptions. Price sensitivity prevents Indian customers from paying for multiple OTT streaming services.

Reducing friction and streamlining payments are among the conveniences offered by these aggregation services. Adarsh ​​Nair, CEO of Airtel Digital, says, “Unified content search and personalized AI-powered curation for every customer delivers a seamless viewing experience.

The experience of jumping between apps in search of content to watch also erodes the experience of watching content on OTT video streaming. According to a 2022 Accenture study, 44% of users spend more than six minutes trying to find something they want to watch.

“The flip side of the growth of OTT streaming platforms is that it has led to customer frustration in managing multiple OTT accounts, usernames, passwords and payment options,” notes Chaitanya Divan. , responsible – Prime Video Channels, Amazon Prime Video India, indicating that aggregation is therefore the solution. Channels has integrated nine rather niche OTT streaming apps – discovery+, Lionsgate Play, Docubay, Eros Now, MUBI, hoichoi, Manorama Max, Shorts TV and hayu.

Walk the path of television

All kinds of OTT apps are partnering with multiple delivery service providers to expand their reach. Eros Now, which claims to have 7.9 million paid users, has partnerships with Airtel Xstream Premium, Amazon Prime Video channels and Jio Cinema, among others.

Eros Now CEO Ali Hussein draws a parallel between content consumption on TV channels and OTT video streaming platforms. “On television, viewers are loyal to the shows, and not so much to the channels. With OTT apps, viewers could potentially unsubscribe or delete the app after watching a show they really like.

A distribution mechanism that lowers the overall cost to the consumer is therefore a win-win for both platforms and subscribers. Monthly subscription fees for Tata Play Binge+ and Airtel Xstream Premium start at £149 each.

Shah says the OTT viewing experience has gradually begun to resemble the pay-TV distribution model – familiar in terms of packaging, content discovery and even payment experiences. This familiarity is also offered at the group level. Indian consumers prefer pay-per-view bundles when it comes to selecting which TV channels to watch, and the same is likely to be true for consuming OTT platforms. Tata Play currently allows users to add Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to a base set of 12 OTT video streaming platforms.

In addition to benefiting from the reach of delivery service providers, OTT platforms also have access to users’ consumption habits and can extract data to identify user preferences.

Analysts say improved distribution and accessibility through consolidation will propel the OTT market towards mass adoption. Subscribers living in Tier I and Tier II cities can even switch from traditional linear TV to primarily OTT content consumption.

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