22 Nov 2019 19:43 IST

Most people watching shows through OTT platforms now

MICA Survey finds time spent on video streaming apps was up 140% in 2019 over 2016 in five countries

Indians prefer regional content on over-the-top (OTT) platforms, revealed the second edition of the Indian OTT Platforms Report 2019, published by MICA Ahmedabad. Released in association with Ahmedabad-based start-up Communication Crafts, the report highlights that the time spent on video streaming apps globally went up 140 per cent in 2019 in such countries as India, Australia, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand.

The report, which analysed data shared by Comscore, an American media measurement and analytics company, further found that consumption of content on OTT platforms was the highest by men. The present report is an attempt by MICA’s Centre for Media and Entertainment Studies (CMES) to bridge the industry-academia gap and create knowledge for different stakeholders.


Gender-wise consumption

Despite investing in female-centric content, the Netflix demographic seems to be heavily skewed towards male audiences, like most other streaming platforms. This is very different from its demographic profile in regions such as the US, where greater gender parity has been achieved

For Netflix, 72 per cent of unique visitors in March 2019 were men, within which the 15-24 age group dominated nearly 50 per cent of the shares. Interestingly, Netflix saw greater traction among older female viewers; the 35+ age group formed the largest share of visitors, followed by 25-34-year-olds.


ZEE5 has more or less gender parity in viewership in March 2019, with 56 per cent male and 46 per cent female visitors. For Airtel TV, 74 per cent of the unique visitors in March 2019 were males, largely in the 15-24 bracket.

Seventy percent of the audience on Twitter in March 2019 were males, with the 15-24 age group comprising 40 per cent of this demographic. Among females, the 25-34 age group had the most visitors.

For Amazon Prime, visitors were largely males (72.5 per cent) in the month of March 2018. The 15-34 demographic formed upward of 70 per cent of the audience share for Amazon Prime Video for both genders.

Hotstar’s demographic tilt to male audiences remains unchanged, who made up 69 per cent of the platform’s consumption in March 2019. The sports heavy content, generally a men’s interest genre, is likely one of the contributing factors. The 15-24 age group remains the largest viewers among both females and males. Hotstar bagged 135 million viewers in the first three days of the VIVO IPL 2019. For IPL 2018, a turnout was over 202 million

For Google News, over 60 per cent of the audience accessing the platform in March 2019 were men. For Inshorts, that picks up news content and condenses it in 60 words, more than 70 per cent of unique visitors in March 2019 were men. Inshorts had close to 6.2 million unique visitors in March 2019, a 194 per cent change since March 2018, when visitors were 2.1 million.

Regional content

Regional is the new battle zone following the availability of internet through mobile phones on a massive scale and at low rates, the internet dark zones, especially the semi-urban and rural areas suddenly have access to content. Many users are first-generation OTT content consumers. Since these are non-urban areas, which are supposed to have an inflow of mainstream content, the new consumers have been attracted to regional content. The newer players in regional content include Hoichoi, Ullu, MXPlayer, to name a few.

According to Google, 97 per cent of the content consumed on YouTube is in regional languages. The report stated that 60 per cent of the watch time on YouTube happens outside the six metro areas.

Hoichoi (all Bengali content) witnessed an 85 per cent growth in traffic from 76,000 total unique visitors in March 2018 to 140,000 in March 2019. A total of 2 million minutes were consumed in March 19, averaging 6.4 minutes per visitor.

Some 75 per cent of the top 10 high-traction content in the 10 major regional languages are music-related, either the soundtracks of feature films or songs by independent artists. Songs from film soundtracks were more popular in Bhojpuri, Odiya, Kannada, Malayalam, and Tamil. Independent artists’ music caught on more in Punjabi, Gujarati, and Marathi.

Rising number of unique visitors

YouTube recorded 274 million total unique viewers in March 2019, occupying a 93.4 per cent market reach. The total unique viewership for Netflix saw a 187 per cent change as its digital population increased from 5.3 million in March 2018 to 15 million in March 2019.

ZEE5 witnessed a 164 per cent change in unique visitors, from 9.9 million in March 2018 to 26.2 million in March 2019, with audiences crossing the 20 million mark in October 2018. Over 90 per cent of visitors accessed the platform on mobile phones. The mobile app’s usage rose exponentially during the one-year period — from 26 per cent of viewership in March 2018 to 73 per cent by March 2019.

Digital disruption

Speaking about the OTT Platforms 2019 report, Dr Shailendra Raj Mehta, President & Director, MICA, said, “The telecom explosion in India has percolated to every corner of the country, resulting in easy access to data, with OTT media services changing how people watch television. Some 50 per cent of the population are online and around two-thirds possess a mobile phone. Social media has penetrated into our day-to-day life as nearly three billion people access it in some form. Limited and focused content is key for engaging with audiences and tapping into the opportunities present, leading to volumes of content creation and bigger budgets. MICA’s OTT report encompasses in-depth research and analysis from an Indian perspective.”

Dr Preeti Shroff, Dean, MICA said, “MICA’s Media and Entertainment Management Specialisation offers an increasingly attractive career path for next generation creative and analytical managers and leaders. Global trends in this sector are rooted in digital transformations — new technology, tools and platforms, increasingly driven by locally and globally diverse consumer preferences. There is a great creative and business opportunity for local language-specific and culture-appropriate content innovation, and expanded usage of digitally-enabled platforms relevant for diverse audiences in various parts of the world.

Regulatory regime

Dr Darshan Trivedi, Editor, Indian OTT Platforms Report, said, “Through this report, we have tried to showcase the changing ecosystem of OTT in the media and entertainment sector in India and the opportunities that await content creators and platforms. The biggest global players have understood the regional flavour and, hence, many platforms are going regional. The biggest challenge is the upcoming censorship that the Government will roll out soon. The coming 12 months will be exciting as far as the regulations are concerned. The self-regulatory framework is the best for the largest democracy in the world. Finally, what the TRAI consultation paper recommends, how OTT platforms will come under the regulatory regime, and how the proposed Bills impact the functioning and regulation of the content ecosystem will decide the way businesses take shape.”

Kandaswamy Bharathan, visiting faculty at MICA and IIMA, said, “The 20+ project announcements made in the last six months show that OTTs are bullish on South Indian content and are commissioning 30-40 per cent regional shows. . All the major OTT platforms starting with Amazon Prime and Netflix, have bulked up their Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam film libraries, over the last year.”

Interactive content

Siddharth Deshmukh, adjunct faculty at MICA, says, “We are seeing some other real-time behavioural changes in media consumption. Cutting the umbilical cable/satellite cord is a recent phenomenon — when we see entire families check what’s on Netflix/Amazon Prime/other OTT platforms before (if ever) going to see what’s happening on normal media. Groups of early adopters and innovators are avoiding what’s on normal radio and TV for the fluid content of the new OTT formats.”

Chirag Dagli, Director, Communications Craft said, “Another trend that’s likely to intensify in the coming year is the innovative use of interactivity coupled with live content. Sports, news, and reality shows already enjoy a sizable share of the Indian audience. And the OTT platforms are smartly integrating interactivity and marketing them aggressively to lure the TV audience to these platforms.”