The Indian videotainment battle is heating up and everyone’s basking in it

It’s a fight that no one minds. After all, it is redefining entertainment for us all.

Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime are fast changing the rules of the games, making traditional tv viewing a thing of the past. The entertainment space, having hit a saturation point was bubbling for a change. Video streaming apps with their wide range of quality and diverse content helped change the status quo.

What’s more. Coming with the fantastic lure of watching what you want, when you want and where you want, these over-the-top (OTT) platforms are becoming the primary entertainment destination for most Indians.

The power players in India

Star India’s Hotstar rules the roost with an enviable number of subscribers followed by Viacom 18’s Voot. Amazon’s prime video which launched a few months after Netflix surpasses the global streaming giant with more than twice its numbers.

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Hotstar, launched a year ahead of its competitors in 2015 had the early mover advantage. Starting with a robust collection of Indian language shows and movies, the app became an instant hit. Its success though is largely attributed to its live streaming of IPL matches, a move that saw the cricket crazy people nation subscribing to it in droves.

For instance, Hotstar registered a record viewership of 82.4 million viewers during this year’s IPL inaugural week, a substantial 75% growth vs last year

Netflix and Amazon prime both entered the Indian market when the demand for quality international content was at an all-time high, creating a frenzy among youngsters.

The Indian video OTT market is estimated to be over $280 million, with over 100 million subscribers on multiple platforms


According to the EY-FICCI report released this year, the video OTT market is expected to grow by 35% year on year, with online video viewership set to double in the next few years.

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Content is the King

Both Hotstar and Voot have access to their parent firm’s content libraries. They, therefore, have an edge over others in terms of domestic content.

Netflix and Amazon Prime, on the other hand, come backed by strong international content.

But with growing demand for both local and regional content, they are now aggressively diversifying their content pool. In that, Amazon Prime has been more successful in adapting to the changing trends.


Where’s the money?

Hotstar works on a ‘Freemium’ model, part free part subscription, though most of its earnings come from advertisements.

It’s global peers run exclusively on subscription. Amazon prime has managed to capture a bigger market share because of its attractive subscription fee.

Netflix meanwhile has restricted itself to premium subscribers with its high pricing structure. The fact that only 300,000-400,000 of its subscribers pay up shows that users do not migrate beyond the first free month trial period.

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The future is in your pocket

With Indians spending lesser time on TV, on-the-go content is the new fad.

A recent Akamai report highlights that Indians, on an average spend 12.3 hours per week watching online videos. 44% of them do so on their smartphones

With increasing smartphone penetration, millions of Indians are expected to go online and explore video streaming services for the first time.

The future is laden with opportunities for the video streaming industry. It will be a vicious battle for supremacy. But whichever way the pendulum swings, in the end, its the Indian viewer who will emerge the biggest winner.

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