OTT platforms boost appeal of English entertainment

OTT platforms boost appeal of English entertainment


MUMBAI: The over-the-top (OTT) space in India is exploding with broadcasters and new players taking the plunge to entertain the country. In such a scenario, even English entertainment content players aren’t far behind.

With over a dozen channels in the genre and now even direct-to-home players contributing with value-added services (VAS), the market is likely to witness a significant jump in the number of consumers, hours of content consumed and revenue. Excluding VAS, the ad sales revenue for the English entertainment and movies market is Rs 600-700 crore.

“Proliferation of OTT players has aided the appeal of English content in India, be it Hollywood or general entertainment. This is visible in the growth numbers for the English category, which has seen a growth in viewership in FY 18 as compared to FY 17,” says Sony Pictures Networks India EVP English channels Tushar Shah.

Tata Sky has recently launched Tata Sky World Screen - a handpicked bouquet of international entertainment content. The VAS will not only feature Hollywood movies, but also prime content from across geographies and multiple languages like Arabic, Russian, Spanish, French and many more. The ad-free service will allow subscribers to view select series and movies from across the world round the clock. It is priced at Rs 75 a month and Tata Sky aims to drive up average revenue per user (ARPU) with international content.

Tata Sky chief content officer Arun Unni says that the service targets a segment in which the genre is popular and is open to consume new content. “This kind of an offering doesn’t exist in the market. It is an alternative for those who are either already exposed or would not want to go on the purely digital option and even for those who do, they might find interesting and compelling content,” he adds.

Critics claim that OTT is eating into traditional media. In an earlier interaction, Shah said, “There is always a churn between different platforms around the world. But this hasn’t led to viewership shrinking. Instead, it has grown by 54 per cent for the SPN English category between 2016 and 2017. The English movies genre overall has grown by 67 per cent in 2017.”

Videocon d2h started a VAS named ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Hollywood HD’ long time back. The service was earlier priced at Rs 45 per month but now it has been reduced to Rs 38 per month excluding tax. The content is being sourced from seven top studios in Hollywood - Disney, Warner Bros, NBC Universal, Fox, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate and Paramount.

According to FICCI Frames report, in 2017, English entertainment and other genres saw a reduction in their viewership because of rural panel weightage enhanced by the Broadcast Audience Research Council.

OTT platforms in India have reached scale and now provide something for a vast array of audiences. Be it Eros Now with its huge library of Indian films, Zee5 with its wide regional offerings, Sony Liv and Hotstar with their TV content and premium sports while Hollywood rules the English entertainment offering.