Rising consumption of OTT content in the times of COVID-19

The peak viewing hours have extended.


Our world is tranforming. With its 1.34 billion population, India is actually sitting on a ticking bomb ready to explode, if things are not taken in control swiftly and efficiently.

By far, it is pegged at doing things well and WHO plus the entire world is observing India closely to set an example in a scenario when it doesn’t have the best of healthcare crises systems in place. The WHO has applauded India for its swift response which includes grounding of domestic and international flights, suspending tourist visas, sealing the interstate and district boundaries and imposing  WFH (work from home) for its large urban working populace. During these times, as social distancing has become the buzz word and meetings are converging on mobile screen windows, there is a change in how we are consuming media.

With more and more employers and entrepreneurs adapting to WFH, in this wait and  watch scenario (due to the rapid spread of the  novel COVID-2019), there has been an almost 20 per cent increase in viewership across several OTT platforms. The working professional is now able to save  travelling time leading to an increase in consumption of video content and television content. Obviously, metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have become the highest contributors to the same.

Mr. Arun Fernandes (CEO- Hotstuff)

Even before India went into a self-imposed quarantine, the OTT markets in India were looking at growing 10 times to reach $5 billion by 2023. As the traditional work-life comes to a temporary halt, I believe, it will help the digital market upsurge, owing to a greater demand for content. OTT providers are seeing peaks in the consumption hours. The earlier peak hour of 8 am to 10.30 am (general commute time) now extends until 11.30 am. Similarly, the evening consumption hours now start at 6 pm as opposed to 8 pm and goes way beyond midnight.

An average of 21 per cent users in India use digital media, consuming an average of 1.7 hours of content a day. But in the past few weeks, there has been an extension. (Source: Statista) Netflix alone saw a surge of traffic increase (a jump of approximately 30 per cent+) in the weeks of February and March. About 30 video streaming services are currently active in India and as film theatres have shut down and eating out and hanging-out is no longer an option, people are turning to OTTs as their own way of coping with the monotony and relief from the grim reality of the pandemic.

Demand has also spiked due to closure of educational institutions and exams not breathing down the necks. The channels are also well stocked with fresh content. These are turning points in terms of the consumer lifestyle. With demonetisation, we adapted and evolved into a more savvy and discerning audience using digital modes of payments. Similarly, I believe that with these pivotal changes, we would look at a new habit of consumption of media and  content and the novel COVID-19 protocols will, in time, coax new entrants to explore the digital world!

(The author is Hotstuff CEO. The views expressed are his own and Indiantelevision.com may not subscribe to them)

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