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The shape of Indian OTT universe circa 2021 according to Rethink Tech Research

MUMBAI: This should put OTT players on alert and gladden the hearts of linear TV distribution and programming executives. The latest numbers about how India’s video guzzlers are going to consume VoD services by the UK-based industry tracker Rethink Technology Research reveal that India will have about 14.6 million VoD subscribers by 2021. Indiantelevision.com estimates are that, comparatively, Indian DTH will account for about 75 million active subscribers and cable TV more than 100 million by then.

Clearly, VoD will have made a marginal dent in eroding linear TV distribution platforms stranglehold on Indian viewers thanks to the lower sticker prices for cable TV and DTH, which will possibly continue to be in play even in 2021. Cord-cutting, which is becoming increasingly common in many markets, may not really make its way to Indian shores.

Yes, the data suggests that India will be the second largest market in Asia Pacific after China which will account for 60 per cent of the Asia Pacific’s $10 billion subscription revenues and 200 million subs, by 2021. (The corresponding figures for 2016 are at $6.5 billion and 100 million respectively.)

“Asia Pacific is made up of a multitude of contrasting individual markets, making it fragmented and complex with broadband penetration above 50%, in some regions and below 10% in others,” said a statement from Rethink Technology Research.
There will be a hard pitched battle for subscription shares between the 30 odd OTT players in the game in India. By then probably many more OTT providers will have stomped into the terrain. And hence one wonders how many of them will be profitable.

Both, Netflix and Amazon Prime, are just about beginning to plonk down top dollars – like India has not seen before – on original shows which should hop on to their India – and later global – offering by next year. Hotstar and Viacom18’s Voot have also been investing heavily to acquire customers. Estimates are that the two have pumped in around Rs 4000 million and Rs 1400 million, respectively, since launch. Others such as Viu, NextGTV, Spuul, ErosNow, Hooq, SonyLiv, YuppTV and Alt Balaji too are in a customer acquisition phase, having just got onto the runway.

The good news, according to Rethink, is that pure play SVoD services in APAC (expected revenues by 2021: $6.29 billion) will dominate operator-supplied services.

As far as APAC is concerned, the research house predicts that Indonesia and Japan will be third and fourth, with each increasing to 9.96 million and 8.1 million by 2021, respectively.

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