Some of the biggest streaming players in India come from broadcast firms (Zee5, Disney+Hotstar, Voot). More than 50 per cent of the viewership on streaming video is catch-up TV. “The biggest shows on Star Plus will be the biggest shows on Hotstar.
Ditto for Zee5
or Colors. How strong your content is on TV is the defining factor on OTT
(over-the-top or streaming),” reckons Kedar Gavane, senior vice-president and head APAC, ComScore.
Tarun Katial, CEO, Zee5, points out: “Eventually VoD (video-on-demand) will land on (the) TV (screen). The price point of (an internet-enabled) smart TV is down to Rs 7,000. In the next 18-26 months, long-form entertainment
will increasingly move to TV,” says he. He points to the US market where the bulk of OTT
viewership happens on television. From a few million, smart TV penetration jumped to 20 million of the 197 million TV homes in India in 2020. Much of it was driven by the sampling of OTT
content on the big screen during the lockdown. This will only rise. What will emerge is a kind of hybrid combining the strengths of TV and streaming.
This brings us to the third trend — the possible break-up of big tech firms. The world’s biggest online distribution platforms are owned by a handful of firms each with crazy amounts of reach and revenue: Apple (1.5-billion users, $260-billion revenue), Google (1.7-billion users, 161-billion revenue), Facebook (2.6-billion users, $71-billion revenue), and Amazon ($280-billion revenue). Google and Facebook account for over 56 per cent of all digital advertising in the US and over 70 per cent in India. Newspapers, music firms, broadcasters, and film studios have to agree to their terms or get locked out of the global market — like Fortnite was when Apple threw it out earlier this year. That is why regulators in the US and EU are actively working on figuring out ways to control them — one of these is to break up, say, a Facebook into Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp. This could improve competition and ease the pressure that the Google-Facebook duopoly places on the streaming video and digital news
markets in India.
It has been a tough year for everyone. But Indians got their TV, OTT, newspaper, and radio. The Indian M&E industry entertained and informed a home-bound country even while being pummelled by lack of revenues, job losses, and news
channels bad-mouthing it. After doing a phenomenal job, it still stares at a 20-30 revenue drop. That is not a great beginning to the new year.