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Solo video viewers on the rise in India: Ampere Analysis research

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MUMBAI: Going solo! That’s something Indian streaming services have been working hard to get viewers to do with their video apps - especially in a mobile-first country like India.

Apparently, it seems to be working, according to a new research report put out by UK research firm Ampere Analysis, late last month.

It stated that 15 per cent of viewers in India went in for solo viewing of video content in Q3 2019-2020 as against 10 per cent in Q1. While 50 per cent growth in two quarters will have the streaming service heads grinning in glees, the Indian consumer has some way to go before reaching the high solo viewing habits of those in Europen markets.

In Sweden, for instance 45 per cent of internet users watched video and TV alone in Q3 2019, up from a little over 40 per cent in Q1; in Denmark, the figure went up to 35 per cent in Q3 2019 from 30 per cent in Q1-2019. The Netherlands had a smarter jump growing from 25 per cent in Q1 to 35 per cent in Q3. The UK shares similar numbers.

The research revealed that solo viewing is high in markets where OTT usage is high clearly indicating that video on demand content is driving this behaviour. Research also showed that these viewers believe that family viewing is no longer important.

This trend will only gather momentum as existing leaders like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and new streamers like Disney+, Peacock, HBO Max, and other country players like Hotstar, Zee5, Voot, SonyLiv aggressively roll out and push their offerings globally and localise content.

The trend must specially give some satisfaction to Star India and Disney APAC big boss Uday Shankar. It was in 2015 that the network had launched its Hotstar  “Go Solo” campaign.

“We were talking to young Indians, who prize individuality and non-conformity. Those who weren’t satisfied with the traditional viewing in India, sitting around a living room TV set, watching a channel that someone else had chosen,” the network says.

“She is always on top of news and opinion articles, yet I have never seen her hold a physical newspaper,” Uday is quoted as saying on the Star website, referring to the young women in India who are changing how they consume media. "Her daily dose comes exclusively from the digital universe. She is a voracious consumer of movies and drama; yet goes to theatres more for fun than for creative consumption. Fixed schedule programming sounds as bizarre to her as silent movies to us.”

With Disney announcing the launch of Disney+ as a tab on Hotstar by March 2020, this solo viewing trend can only head further northwards.

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