The entry of Jio has transformed the digital market in India and now its impact can be seen in the OTT space as well. American streaming leaders such as Netflix and Amazon know the value of the Indian market and they are trying to capture the audience using every possible tactic. India’s online video market is estimated to be over $700 million and is expected to grow to $2.4 billion by 2023.
Netflix recently aired “Lust Stories,” in India and tried to break the taboos around Indian women and their fantasies. Based on a Vikram Chandra’s novel “Sacred Games” is getting a great response from the audience.
Amazon’s Comicstaan is based on finding new talent in the country. It is the 4th original show Amazon has made for India. Owned by Star India, Hotstar is currently the most popular on-demand video service in India with over 150 million monthly active users. Netflix has only one million subscribers in the country according to industry estimates which is not an impressive number considering the number of online users in India. More than 35 streaming services have launched in India.
One big factor for a fewer number of Netflix users is pricing. Americans, in this case, are happy to pay a handsome amount for quality content. The difference between cable TV prices is also a big reason.
In the U.S., a monthly cable TV subscription costs around $100, which makes these platforms a preferable choice. Whereas in India, that price has remained around $4 for the last 20 years.
Hotstar’s Mohan is trying to expand the market: “Unlike many of our competitors, we are not happy with building a small subscriber base. We’re not happy with offering a streaming service that appeals to a very small part of Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore,” he said.
Netflix has declined to change its pricing model for winning more market share in the country. At an event in New Delhi earlier this year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said: “The Indian entertainment business will be much larger over the next 20 years because of [investment] in pay services like Netflix and others.”
“Our strategy is to build up the local content, of course, we have got the global content as well, and really try to up-level the industry,” he added.
Hotstar is popular due to cricket tournaments played by the Indian team. The approach is completely clear to capture the Indian digital market with the number of cricket lovers in the country.
Last week, Times Internet acquired MX Player for $140 million with a vision to capture the OTT market in India. Other names such as Shemaroo, Alibaba, and Facebook are planning to enter the local streaming market soon. Coming few months will decide the future of the video-streaming market in India.