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Disney+ Hotstar & Netflix dominate India's SVoD market: Omdia

The duo accounted for 78 per cent of SVoD revenues of $639 million in 2020

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MUMBAI: Now here’s further research confirming Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar’s dominance of the Indian streaming market. Research firm Omdia’s  2021 Online Video Market and Consumer Trends Report released on 31 March states that the two streaming giants accounted for 50 per cent of all subscription video on demand (SVoD) signups in India in 2020. This was on the back of the pandemic and nationwide lockdown which saw SVoD revenues spurt 142 per cent from $265 million to $639 million by end 2020. The duo accounted for 78 per cent of that final tally, meaning about $498.42 million.

While Disney+ Hotstar trebled its subscriber base from eight million to 25.6 million in 2020, Netflix nearly doubled its subs from 2.4 million in 2019 to 4.4 million in the same period. The Indian streamer’s growth partly came from the  bundling of Disney+ and Hotstar, as well as the postponement of the start of the thirteenth  season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) from April to September, as well as competitive pricing plans and exclusive rights to foreign content such as Game of Thrones.

One of the key factors for the growth of subscriptions for online video is the aggressive pricing models of both Disney+ Hotstar and Netflix, with the latter launching mobile only subscription packages in 2019, reflecting the Indian consumption habits. 82 per cent of online video services are accessed through smartphones with only 39 per cent accessing content through dedicated TV apps (data from Omdia’s 2020 consumer survey).

Disney+ Hotstar on the other hand offers three specific content packages. The VIP plan (Rs 399 per year) offers dubbed local languages while Premium (Rs 299 per month) offers both English and dubbed version of content. In terms of device access, the VIP plan only allows its subscribers to watch on one screen in HD while Premium allows subscribers to watch on two screens simultaneously in full HD.

By offering affordable streaming plans and partnering with large telcos such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India, Omdia expects that mobile-only subscriptions will continue to grow over the next couple of years. However, mobile-only subscriptions will face challenges from traditional pay TV services as pay TV services aggregate OTT video services with their core pay TV plans.

Whilst retaining premium rights to foreign titles and sporting events have contributed to significant growth in revenues and subscribers, over the past few years there has been an increased focus on investing in original Indian language content, Omdia noted.

In 2021, Amazon Prime and Netflix will continue their large investment in original Indian content, with the two major US services set to invest around $340 million, representing 52 per cent of the total investment in 2021. Omdia expects that close to 400 original titles (mostly series and films) will be produced in 2021 by the global and Indian OTT services.

Most of the investment being made is directed towards original content in Hindi, around 65 per cent  of total spending, according to the Omdia report.

“The online video (OTT) market of India is steadily growing its foothold in every direction,” says Omdia principal analyst – TV & online video, consumer Constantinos Papavassilopoulos. “The Covid2019 pandemic accelerated the growth rate of an already dynamic and robust OTT market. The basic elements that will propel the market to further growth in the near future are already there: very affordable mobile broadband prices, high penetration of smart-phones, a population eager to consume more content, an ever-growing investment in Indian originals and a plethora of choices with more than 40 OTT services operating in the country.”

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