MUMBAI: Want to get a handle on what kind of traction that India’s answer to Amazon and Netflix - Hotstar from Star India – is getting? Well, the OTT service has come out with an India Watch Report 2018 (IWR 2018) – just as the IPL is around the corner in a bid to pique brands’ and ad agencies' curiosity and jiggle their memories.
Says Novi Digital Entertainment (Hotstar) CEO Ajit Mohan in a preface to the report: “The biggest change (between 2017 and 2016) has been how consumers are responding to the explosion in access to affordable data. Three years ago, most new data users would start with messaging, do text search, move on to social platforms and a few brave ones would watch video on the mobile network. This pyramid has been completely inverted. In a world that does not fear data charges, video is very often the first port of call for new data users. Familiar stories, whether TV shows, movies or sports, unconstrained by any language limitation, are acting as powerful triggers to light up their smartphones and their data connections.”
The study says that Hotstar was the most downloaded video app for 2017 with a total of 325 downloads per minute totting up to an incredible 170 million downloads cumulatively. Hotstar users gobbled 3 GB data per month as compared to the average user who consumes 1.6 GB a month. Almost 90 per cent users logged on to the Hotstar app on their handsets even as there was a 6X growth in those consuming it on their connected TVs. What were they watching? 96 per cent of them gulped down videos longer than 20 minutes, thus rubbishing the long held notion that OTT users snack on short form content.
According to IWR 2018, ViVO IPL 2017 saw a jump of 6.6 times in watch time as compared to 2016. And 70 per cent of men who consume video online were on Hotstar watching the T20 journey during its 2017 edition.
The good news is that women are also coming online in a big way, says Hotstar. Consumption by women from smaller towns (between one and 10 lakh population) grew by three times in 2017, even as that by women in one million plus population towns and in metros doubled. The consumption growth is pretty rapid when it comes to women from places like New Barrackpore (5X), Siliguri (6.5X), Kanchipuram (5X) and Ranchi (4.7X).
Overall watchtime is growing at an astounding clip, says the IWR in the non-metros. In cities like Moradabad the growth was 22 times, Allahabad (13X), Hubli (12X) and Sonipat (12X).
Hotstar notched up some other records, says IWR 2018 - it crossed a billion minutes of watch time in a single day several times in 2017.
Viewers cannot seem to be getting enough of the content IWR 2018 says: In 2017, cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune switched off their phones at 2:37 am, 2 am and 2:35 am respectively. In Gurugram, Amritsar and Kolkata, the curfew time came out as 2:08 am, 2:15 am and 2:05 am respectively while for Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderbad, the cutoff time was 1:59 am, 1:38 am and 1:54 am respectively. Not unexpectedly, the largest share of watchtime came from Mumbai.
What were Hostar subs watching?
Unsurprisingly, the nation's most-watched genre is drama, and while West Bengal and Maharashtra can’t get enough of romance, Tamil Nadu and Delhi revel in comedy! And doing away with set notions that only women watch drama, IWR 2018 says that 50 per cent of watch time for shows such as Yeh Rishta kya Kehlata Hai was accounted for by men. Youngsters too are turning into drama with their tribe accounting for 63 per cent of watchtime of Ishqbaaaz. To add to that, Indian women accounted for 18 per cent of watchtime of Bahubaali 2: The Conclusion.
The report points out that 70 per cent of premium users who watched English shows and movies also viewed other programming genres and languages. 26 per cent of Modern Family watchers tuned into cricket; 26 per cent of Game of Thrones viewers watched Hindi TV shows, and 14 per cent of premier league watchers popped up the app’s Bengali TV shows.
The Champions Trophy final between India and Pakistan 2017 resulted in it – at 113 million views - emerging as one of the most globally watched online videos in the shortest span, that is eight hours. That same nail-biting final saw 4.8 million simultaneous viewers making it the event with the highest concurrency seen in APAC.
And the viewing of one day internationals saw a spurt of five times in 2017 vs 2016.
Which sports are gaining popularity in India?
The IWR 2018 says football is India’s second most loved sport and grew massively with watch time for the ISL rising 3.5 times and for the Premier League by 10 times. The Vivo Pro Kabaddi League saw its watch time skyrocketing nine times over 2016.
The crown of the most watched show in 2017, according to IWR 2018, goes to the Rajan Shahi produced Yeh Rishta Kya Kehalata Hai. No surprises in the English show category with Game of Thrones emerging on top, and Big Boss Tamil and Telugu reigning in their respective languages.
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