Indian market has scope for niche OTT platforms despite several challenges


MUMBAI: OTT platforms offering niche content is an emerging trend in the global market. Dedicated content offers brands an opportunity to differentiate themselves in an over-congested market. Currently in India, there’s one such example Veqta, an OTT platform offering sports content. While it is too early to predict such trends in the Indian ecosystem, such a concept definitely offers an opportunity in the market.

With the rise of streamers worldwide, content available on OTT is also evolving gradually. The primary challenge for OTT players is to provide viewers with compelling content, especially when it comes to the SVOD model. When a platform offers niche content, it overcomes the primary challenge of differentiating its position in market.

FishFlicks, an Australian brand, comes with recreational sporting content like fishing and hunting. Such content was picked knowing Australian people's passion for fishing. Before launching, it was understood that fishing enthusiasts would be excited by the offering. Along with potential in national market, an interest in Australian fishing also fetches certain amount of global subscribers.

Like FishFlicks, there’s another platform called Cyberobics which is basically a virtual fitness world. Today, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a challenge to people across world. Every now and then people browse how to be fit. In such a scenario, Cyberobics offers not just something unique in the entertainment segment but also relevant content of public interest.

“If you are getting a sizeable amount of aggregated audience for a particular niche and then is a potential possibility to look at if there’s a focused platform-specific strategy or brand-specific strategy for that particular niche,” Eros Digital COO Ali Hussein said.

It’s also easier for viewers to find content that interests them since they are already enthusiastic about the content catalogue offered. The bouquet of dedicated content ensures that users don't give up browsing the platform too soon. Vishnu Mohta, the co-founder of Hoichoi, says that content discovery is less of a challenge on niche OTT platforms as the content is customised to cater to the user's interests along with the app offering recommendation on what to watch.

A big advantage these platform have is that they evoke a sense of loyalty among users. Since the audience consuming the content is already passionate about the content topic, the affinity for the brand grows easily. Initially, if these platforms opt for the SVOD model, the audience is unlikely to mind paying for the content. However, these platforms have to go a long way to secure sponsorship or get advertisers on board.

While brand loyalty may be easy to acquire, raising awareness about the brand can be a daunting task. Vishnu Mohta says marketing and reaching out to people is always a challenge for these platforms. The advantage, he adds, is that marketing strategies can be focussed on target groups alone. However, with limited amount of subscription revenue, it’s not possible for these brands to bombard customers with great advertisement. 

OTT platforms offering sports content will easily have a bigger market, Mohta says. In India, the OTT market has started picking up only in the last two years. It’s very early to predict if it could emerge as a trend. Spuul content head D Girish says, “There has not been enough data to conclude that there’s an upsurge of popularity of such content. Even on television niche content viewership is less than 7%, definitely less than 10%.” He adds that that there is enough scope for these platforms to grow, but it’s still too soon to predict if it will play a significant role.

Hussein and Mohta echo that it will take a few years for the Indian ecosystem to tap into the full potential of the platform. “I think there is an opportunity for niche content because digital video allows niche content to get consumed and discovered. But I think people have to be smart in terms of why they want an OTT strategy, why it is different compared to running a channel on YouTube or Facebook,” says Hussein. “Niche platforms have their USP also. People have a stronger loyalty to these platforms. Niche OTT have a play. I’m not sure about all genres will work or not. There are specific genres like spirituality, devotional can have a play,” he adds.

It will be a challenge for these platforms to survive against larger platforms. Eventually, they may even consider consolidation to ensure a longer innings. Alternatively, larger platforms may acquire the niche platforms if they offer interesting content to attract a wider audience. Perhaps the solution to evading shutting down may depend on the choice and quality of content.

Latest Reads

ZEE Tamil, ‘Yaman’, ‘Vadacurry’ and more…the Best of Tamil content now available EXCLUSIVELY on ZEE5 in malaysia!

Recently launched streaming platform ZEE5 today officially announced that, starting 1st April 2019, ZEE’s much-loved channel ZEE Tamil will stream EXCLUSIVELY on the platform for audiences across Malaysia.

iWorld Over The Top Services
ZEE5 set to premiere Simmba - the biggest blockbuster of the year

In another summer surprise for its viewers, ZEE5announces world digital premiere of SIMMBA - the biggest entertainer of the year.

iWorld Over The Top Services
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on competition and content creation in India

With Amazon flexing its muscle and soon to be Disney-owned Hotstar in the fray, the Indian OTT market is super competitive and exciting, feels Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. "There is also lots happening on Amazon, and on Hotstar, which is now going to be owned by Disney... It's a super competitive,...

iWorld Over The Top Services
MX Player’s Gautam Talwar on content plans and digital measurement currency

The latest OTT entrant Times Internet-owned MX Player recently entered the space with five original series on the back of an ad-supported business model. To keep consumers engaged, it aims to launch five to six shows each quarter. While the platform is already working closely with advertisers, it...

iWorld Over The Top Services
Hotstar to disrupt online video subscriptions with Hotstar VIP

Hotstar, India’s leading video streaming platform, launches ‘Hotstar VIP’ - a subscription that offers audiences the best of content at just INR 365 per year.

iWorld Over The Top Services
Netflix declines being part of Apple TV service

Streaming giant Netflix will not make its content available on Apple’s upcoming video offering.

iWorld Over The Top Services
IPRS grants music license to Google for India

The Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS) has granted a license to Google, enabling the company to utilise IPRS members’ Indian works repertoire in India across YouTube and related services.

iWorld Social Media
Nazara Technologies, Delta Corp to invest Rs 40 cr in HalaPlay

Nazara Technologies Ltd and Delta Corp Ltd, which is India based casino gaming company, together will invest Rs 40 crore as part of Series-A funding round in an online daily fantasy sports platform, HalaPlay.

iWorld Gaming
Kubrra Sait to host an interactive Bollywood quiz show on Facebook

Internet's latest sensation, Kubbra Sait is all set to host Jhacaaash, an interactive Bollywood quiz show on Facebook Live.

iWorld Social Media

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories