Benita Chacko

Decoding content preferences of AVoD and SVoD audiences

A recently released Ormax Media report profiles SVoD and AVoD groups.

The formats and genres preferred by SVoD and AVoD audiences are significantly different from each other, reveals the recently released The Ormax OTT Audience Report: 2022. The report profiles SVoD and AVoD groups in depth on various aspects of their digital video consumption, such as viewing behaviour, languages, format and genre preference, subscription drivers and barriers, media habits, etc.

Shailesh Kapoor
Shailesh Kapoor

Shailesh Kapoor, founder and CEO, Ormax Media, says that in India today, a lot of AVoD content is being made, with an SVoD lens.

“The platforms that target AVoD audiences are not tailor-making the content for them. Instead, they are offering the same content as SVoD platforms do. A lot of web series are being created for the AVoD audience. But this audience is not into that kind of content. They want more of shorter formats, like comedy scenes, songs, knowledge videos, including recipes, education and health, and films. They are not even fully familiar with the web series format.”

As per Ormax Media’s 2021 estimates, India’s digital video audience universe stood at a little over 353 million, of which 31 per cent were SVoD audiences, while the remaining (69 per cent) were AVoD viewers.

The report sheds light on some interesting behaviours in the two audience segments. For example, SVoD audiences spend more time watching a series or a film at night, post 8 p.m. While SVoD audiences watch through the day in smaller chunks. There’s no appointment viewership for them.

Decoding content preferences of AVoD and SVoD audiences

The report reveals that an Indian SVoD audience watches content in at least four languages on an average, while an AVoD viewer watches in at least two languages. This has been possible due to the presence of dubbing and subtitling options on these platforms.

“Most Indians don’t understand more than one or two languages. Yet, people are watching content in 4-5 languages. This means they are open to dubbing and subtitling. AVoD audiences are watching it in lesser languages, not because they are closed to the idea of dubbing, but because not too much of that content is available to them,” Kapoor explains.

AVoD viewers watch a lot of content on YouTube or catch up on their favourite GECs. There is no dubbed content available here. Since this content is largely driven by short-format videos and also has shorter shelf life, it doesn’t make commercial sense to dub it.

“For this audience, we can expect that they will, at some point, transition to SVoD. When that happens, then they will be exposed to more dubbing options,” Kapoor says.

A large share of the audience of content in the four South Indian languages, comes from outside their native state. For example, 88 per cent Malayalam content viewers are from outside Kerala, while 82 per cent Tamil content viewers are from outside Tamil Nadu.

It is dubbing that has enabled content to penetrate outside their respective home states. “This shows that today, there is no geographical boundary. The language barrier is now largely incidental, and not a big factor for people, while making choices,” adds Kapoor.

Almost 40 per cent of SVoD audiences live in metros and mini metros. Around 60-70 per cent of the top six metros’ population is an SVoD audience, making it a saturated market. So, the next level of growth is expected to come from small towns. In terms of gender, 63 per cent of SVoD audience are men.

The report is based on research conducted across more than 6,000 SVoD and AVoD audiences in urban India, and is said to be India’s largest profiling study on the streaming category.

“This distinction in the audience preference, is not being spoken about in the Indian streaming industry. We want to drive this point to the streaming platforms and our clients that the two audience need to be looked at as two different categories. The approach has to be different right from the start. It can’t be that more family type of web series are made for AVoD and bolder ones for SVoD. Many platforms treat AVoD as their poor cousin. Through this report, we want to change that approach,” Kapoor concludes.

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