We wanted to list eleven since the odds seem to be in favour of the OTT platforms. OTT is ‘over-the-top’, for the uninitiated, more popularly the magnetic apps sitting in your phone – Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar (you get the gist). But the number game caught up with us and 10 seems to be a logical number, someone like you or we would search for.
To set the facts straight, the OTT video industry pocketed revenues worth Rs. 2019 crores in the year 2017; in 2022, the number is expected to swell upwards of Rs. 5595 crores. This means one thing: the demand only needs to be tapped and expanded, but the supply can diversify to suit an array of the Indian content palette. There are a host of existing players, but there is a mega wave of new entrants who are finding their sweet spots. For a newbie filmmaker or videographer like you, the content land is fertile to occupy. Upcoming OTT players have content needs, opening their doors to work with you. And when you are on a shoestring budget, there are rental cameras or action cameras online that are easily rentable. We’re giving credit where its due. Here’s the rundown of the top platforms in India, giving you a glimpse into the opportunities that await you:
1. Hotstar: The Game of Thrones (and IPL) are recalled as being available on Hotstar, now owned by Disney (which owns Star India). That gives it a huge brand recall, but great video programming also helps it cater to a vast audience with different tastes. Getting a show, documentary or series on this platform must be on your career checklist. Subscriptions are nominal, starting at Rs. 299 per month, now with the added benefit of Disney with a ton of kid-friendly content, making it appealing for family consumption.
2. Netflix: Coming in as the creator and big daddy of the OTT wave across the world, Netflix stands in a realm of its own. It brought its entire catalogue of bestselling original shows, for which there is no lack on its platform, and grabbed fair market share. It launched an Indian series after launch but trails in producing regional content. That could, of course, be a possible future opportunity for filmmakers with a track record in the space. Filmmakers, in fact, could through services like cameras for rentals, try new videography possibilities to move up in content delivery and stand a leading chance to apply when opportunities arise. Netflix’s plans are quite affordable too.
3. Prime Video: By Amazon, this platform becomes a default option for those habituated to online shopping, as it is part of the annual Prime subscription for Rs. 999, which is a great deal for a full year of video content, plus shopping benefits (and a lot more). India has been the bestselling market for Prime Video, and although the platform lacks the breadth of original content, it has marketed hit shows at a level that only Netflix has. But the main reason is its huge focus to secure Bollywood movies, fair regional content, and a huge investment for creating Indian content. With this regional friendliness coupled with English content, potential filmmakers can target distributors for possible projects to land on this platform.
4. SonyLiv: Putting up a credible fight against the big three of OTT, Sony’s own OTT service delivers the goods, filling a market that prefers classic content like Kaun Banega Crorepati, Indian Idol or Kapil Sharma’s show. Its diversity in content extends to sports, being the main competitor to Hotstar. For the audience aspect, it Tier-I cities occupy upward of 40 per cent of its subscribers, some of who mainly watch free content offers on the platform. It offers a relatively easier possibility to have distributors review your content, but the quality parameters remain high.
5. Voot: Voot occupies another niche in the Indian video market. from Viacom18, an established TV programmer, it has digitized a host of its channels and hit shows, from Colors (Hindi to Infinity), Nickelodeon, Big Boss and even MTV Roadies. With a host of reality shows, it has the highest number of female users among the OTT players, and a young audience as well. Global hit and comedy shows reside on this platform, along with a great mix of original global and Indian content. It seems like a great alternative for the classic TV fan, and that means a great window of opportunity to be a part of reality projects or serial shows.
6. Eros Now (& Apple TV+ tie-up): What stands out is Eros claims to host “Bollywood’s biggest movie collection”, with sources confirm up to 10,000 movies, including regional content that spreads its reach to a vast rural population as well. But what sets Eros apart is its collaborative nature in its business model, getting into partnerships with brands like Xiaomi for pre-installing its app on its Smart TV. But here’s the big one: getting on Apple TV’s channels to reach a premium audience. It doesn’t compromise on original content and offers premium TV shows. Finally, it’s unique in hosting music videos and yes, audio tracks for all those music fans. Seems like a field of opportunities of up and coming filmmakers to find their format of choice.
7. ALTBalaji: Fighting for its share in the OTT space, Ekta Kapoor’s production house started this business, with 25-35 aged users taking up 59 per cent of its user base. It claims to have one of the largest media libraries in India, with movies, shows, stand-up comedy, and kids exclusives catering to a single-family subscription, that surprisingly just costs 300 bucks a year. It balances original content with heavy regionals flavours heavily targeted at Tier-2 and 3 cities in India. Hence, the price point makes it quite attractive. For a filmmaker on a budget, using freelancing or rental camera-like services must be balanced well by working with agencies who can push your content to distributors working with this platform’s production house.
8. Zee5: Another household name in India, Zee’s vast range of television channels offers countless hours of programming and a deep pocket to make the digital switch. While it appears as if it hasn’t been able to give a potent fight to leaders in this list, it hosts almost 100,000 hours of TV shows with 80 live TV channels that include news. Add shows, movies, regional content in 8 languages and global TV series from Turkey, Korea, and Spain, and you notice why it makes up the top 10, spreading its subscribers across urban areas and the hinterland. Similar to DTH’s pricing model, it offers regional-specific packs. Targeting Zee-friendly content can easily open doors for video creators.
9. JioCinema: Reliance Entertainment, riding on the wave of the Jio telecom success offering affordable network plans, offers content streaming for free through all of its mobile data plans. With an earlier service from the group called BigFlix running since the late 2000s and gathering a user base of around 4 million, there are plans to merge it into one entity, JioCinema, for maximum user benefit. And while it syndicates with the likes of Disney and Viacom for select programming, most of its content titles are in 9 languages, since its cheap mobile plans garner a predominant vernacular audience. Jio, with huge expansion plans, offers a range of opportunities for video content creators to make their mark.
10.Viu: Started by a Hong Kong media entity and a user base of 20 million worldwide, this is no small player, but it brings up the rear of our list since it appears to be a ‘me-too player’, trying to offer content for different requirements. Viu has 70-odd originals and 900+ locally produced episodes, in multiple languages including Hindi and Telugu. It’s economical, at Rs. 600 per year with a host of content through a free version as well. It differentiates through syndication with Reliance, Sony, and Zee to build its audience, but misses out on a heavy original catalogue.
Studies reveal that Indian subscribers are always looking at the content freshness and a range of the catalogue. Review the list to confirm why some are leaders and some are laggards. This indicates a huge opportunity that awaits creators like you if your content is appealing to fit the audience taste of one of these players.
The scope for upcoming players to find new opportunities is endless. Take Wintersun TV, for instance. As a niche player from Bengaluru, it wants to create a platform that would host short films and documentaries by independent filmmakers to reach audiences across the world. There are similar players slowing coming onto the scene, reducing the bar to get creators on-board, but not reducing the bar on quality output.
Speaking of output, something you would be very concerned while shooting, OTO World offers a range of mid to high-end videography equipment needed to close projects without burning a hole in your pocket. From video cameras, Red Dragons, accessories to even vans and generators, rent the best fit for your budget and then rent the best fit of equipment again, when the next project comes along. Fill up a brief form here and we will get in touch. Till then, happy filmmaking!