I found a really interesting theme to share with you today. OTT refers to ‘Over-The-Top’ or content transmitted via the internet. Given the number of players in India’s streaming market, including the likes of global biggies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos, homegrown startup platforms like Star India’s Hotstar, Viacom18’s Voot, Zee’s dittoTV, Balaji Telefilms’ ALT Balaji and Sony’s SonyLiv, and independent platforms like Spuul and TVF Play, it’s safe to say the Indian OTT market is getting competitive and congested. After Balaji’s entry with its Alt Balaji app, there have been aggressive moves by players in the Indian OTT space to differentiate themselves. And how they’re planning to achieve this is by aggressively focusing on creating niche content they can stream and build a loyal customer viewership on.
Amazon Prime Video has started acquiring film titles aggressively. While Netflix has signed deals with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment and Aamir Khan, Amazon Prime video has earmarked $313 million (Rs 2000 crore) investment for its video streaming service. It has signed long term deals with major film production houses such as Yash Raj Films, Excel Entertainment, Dharma Productions, Vishesh Films, T-Series and has recently struck a deal with Salman Khan for all his films.
Along with these OTT players, there has also been considerable action in terms of content creation in the genre of Bollywood films. In fact, the largest movie producer in India, Eros Group, is in talks with Apple Inc to sell its entire content library of films and music for around $1 billion. This deal includes Eros Group’s digital OTT platform Eros Now, which has the rights to over 10,000 films and has close to 2.9 million paid subscribers and over 100 million registered subscribers as of June 30, 2017.
The best part of this probable sale is its future growth potential. Eros India’s library continues to grow at healthy pace (company produces 60 films per year) and typically has two to three films in the top 10 grossers every year. This tentative acquisition by Apple is likely to turn the world’s most valuable public company into a serious contender in the video streaming market in India, where Apple TV has made little impression compared with Amazon, Netflix and homegrown rivals.
Over the last six months amid intense competition among online video providers in India, Twenty-First Century Fox-backed Star India has invested $192 million (Rs 1,233 crore) into its digital content arm. Through a rights issue, Star India has infused the money in Novi Digital Entertainment, which runs streaming video platform Hotstar and Starsports.com, regulatory filings showed.
Hotstar is the market leader among India’s video streaming services when measured by active subscribers. It is part of Star India, which has won the digital and television rights for Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament for the next five years with a staggering $2.55 billion bid. This astronomical valuation shows the growth of the IPL brand as data from the Broadcast Audience Research Council for television viewership stated that the first 13 IPL matches recorded a cumulative viewership of 295 million, the highest in 10 seasons.
Over the past three years Star has successfully run the digital rights of the IPL through Hotstar. After winning the bidding process for IPL rights, Star India has created a near monopoly over content generated through cricket in India. Star India, which was the only one to submit a global bid, will have to pay more than $8 million (Rs 54.5 crore) per match, making IPL the costliest cricket property in the world. It also owns the rights to all Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) matches including one day internationals, test and T-20 played in this nation, which is known for its fanatic love for the game.
Here’s an interesting article I found on the Forbes website which adds to this thought. You can start reading it below:
The year 2016 was a milestone year for video streaming in India. While the two biggest players in video streaming — Netflix and Amazon Prime Video — landed, there was also a mobile data wave in the country, triggered by promotional offers by the new carrier on the block, Jio, and a closing of the gap by the existing ones.
According to the consulting firm EY, India had 160 million digital video viewers at the end of 2016. With growing broadband penetration and cheaper mobile data plans, this number is rapidly growing.
While Netflix and Amazon Prime Video may be be eyeing the same pie, they have a slightly different approach for the Indian market. Netflix plans are expensive, starting at Rs500 ($7.66) per month, while Prime Video comes bundled with an Amazon Prime subscription that comes in at just Rs499 ($7.64) per year and offers several promotional and shipping benefits on the online store.
Both companies maintain that local and regional content is the key to drive adoption; however, Amazon appears to be more aggressive towards the stated goal. While both companies are acquiring rights to the latest Hindi films as well as the existing catalog of different studios, Amazon Prime Video features a lot more movies in regional languages. Netflix doesn’t even have any categorization for different languages, and puts all of them in an “Indian Movies” basket — a tad awkward for a diverse market like India.
In terms of original content from India, Amazon Prime Video is more assertive and also ahead with its intentions. It made a splash by signing up 14 comedians for comedy specials in one go and announcing several Indian shows by some of India’s leading film directors, and has already aired India’s first original web series — Inside Edge.
Netflix, by comparison, is still sort of in a catching-up mode. It has featured two comedy specials with Indian comics and has announced one web series, Sacred Games, and a couple of upcoming projects — Selection Day and Again.