Industry experts share some of the key trends they expect to see in the streaming world this year.
Since the Covid19 pandemic-induced lockdowns gave the OTT universe the much-needed boost in 2020, the format has only grown from strength to strength. Though people went back to their normal lives last year, the audience base grew by 20%, rising to 424 million people from 2021’s 353 million, an Ormax report revealed. Industry estimates suggest that there are over 60 OTT platforms in the country currently.
While these platforms catered to the ever-rising demand for content, certain overarching trends emerged. For example, on the content side, some significant trends were the dominance of regional content and the emergence of live-streaming and interactive formats. On the revenue side, many SVoD-only platforms attempted alternate revenue models like TVoD and AVoD.
By the end of 2023, the OTT subscriber base in India is expected to reach 50 million, according to a report by Media Partners Asia (MPA). We spoke to some industry experts to know what the trends are going to be this year.
Indian content will travel the world
Indian shows, both in Hindi and other languages, are expected to grow in popularity in other parts of the world.
Aman Srivastava, senior VP head of marketing, Sony Liv, says, “With dubbing and subtitled content, it is not just an opportunity for other languages to come into the country, it is also an opportunity for the Indian originals to cross the border onto the other side.”
It is also an opportunity for regional language shows to reach all parts of the country. “For a Tamil original creator, their next market will be Mumbai and Delhi, because he would want maximum subscribers to come from that market and not just from his regional market. A lot of other things, like marketing and subscriptions, will also rally around it,” he adds.
Focus on Profitability
With subscriber growth slowing down, platforms are increasingly looking at ways to increase profitability. Global platforms have also cut down on content spending in India. Amit Dhanuka, executive vice president, Lionsgate, says, “While platforms will continue to invest in content, they are going to be smart about it. Everyone is going to start chasing profitability, not at the cost of growth, but ensuring that they are more wise about the way content is being put out. In 2023 I see a lot of platforms changing their plans to drive profitability."
Explosion of Content
There has been a behavioural shift in people and they are spending more time watching content on OTT either on television or mobile. They have also become more exploratory in terms of the kind of content they prefer to watch. “It is just the beginning of a pretty explosive journey. Right now we are just feeding into the demand and catching up with the viewers. They are giving in more hours, so it is our onus, as creators, to offer better stories and experiment. People are language agnostic, but they want real stories with depth. And they want different genres. They are ahead of the curve,” says Indranil Chakraborty, head, Studio Next.
More people are also willing to pay for the content they consume. As a result, the investment in content creation has also increased.
“People will be spoilt for choice for the next two years. In 2023, each platform will launch at least one show every month. There will be stories from all kinds of genres and all languages,” he adds.