With Covid-19 impacting all over the globe, we have all been confined behind closed doors. As almost every activity has taken shape online, Over The Top [OTT] platforms have had business boosted amid lockdown. Cinema halls and movie theatres have found a new home in smaller electronic gadgets and video streaming sites, and the world is becoming much more connected in terms of its technological usage.
According to a pan-India study conducted by Velocity MR titled ‘Surviving COVID-19 and beyond: A Consumer Perspective- Part 2’, four out of 5 Indians are now subscribed to video streaming sites, thus bringing a tremendous increase in subscriptions post lockdown. As per the study, Amazon Prime witnessed 67% growth in subscription, followed by Netflix with a 65% rise in its subscriptions. The data for the study was collected in April 2020 from a stratified sample size of 3,000 respondents. Conducted to understand consumer sentiments towards COVID-19 and their behaviour during the lockdown period, the study covers consumer engagement habits in terms of entertainment, work, and education.
According to the survey, nearly 73% of the respondents stated that they consumed YouTube and Hotstar content more regularly than the other OTT apps. Disney owned Hotstar saw a 41% rise in subscriptions while Google’s a free video platform, YouTube saw a 46% rise in the subscription. Jasal Shah, Managing Director & CEO, Velocity MR, said in a statement that, “As no new daily soaps are being aired during the lockdown, 80 per cent preferred watching movies followed by National News (65 per cent)”.
The findings showed that more than 80 per cent of respondents use WhatsApp for video conferencing, thus, making it the top video conferencing app used during the lockdown. Skype is majorly used by salaried individuals (41 per cent). With more free time due to the lockdown, 52 per cent people found it as an opportunity to upgrade skills and enrol in online courses, learning companies also saw a rise, with Byju’s enrolling students at 33 per cent, followed by Unacademy (28 per cent) and Udemy (28 per cent), said the survey.
The numbers speak for themselves, for there has been a sharp rise in viewership locally as well as internationally. According to a report by Research Dive, the global OTT market has garnered $129.3 billion in 2018 and is estimated to generate a revenue of $438.5 billion by 2026. Currently, a few OTT platforms are providing extended free periods intending to grab a significant chunk of the audience and gain subscriptions in the wake of the COVID-19’s spread. As a result, overall revenue from digital subscriptions is expected to experience an upsurge due to the growing preference for OTT platforms in the crisis period.
Many filmmakers have opted out from waiting for theatres to reopen and are backing deals with major streaming platforms to reach out their product globally. In this massive rise of OTT platforms, the industry shall not survive standstill- until it keeps up to provide wholesome entertainment and quality content to its audience.