OTT: The Next Big Thing

OTT or over the top content is live video streaming directly to the viewer using the internet, mobile technology or wifi. This technology bypasses the current cable and TV broadcast system that traditionally provide content to the viewer. This is an alternative route and has become very popular in the last year or so. Direct streaming along with IGTV is the next big wave. It is said that India alone will be a 5 billion dollar OTT market in the next five years. By the end of this year, the total internet subscriber base will be over 500 million of which majority subscribers are from the urban areas where connectivity is good and fast. However, the rural markets are fast catching up. That itself presents a great and viable opportunity for OTT platforms among which some are already streaming high-quality Bollywood films and cricket content along with filmy music.

The growth had been in the vernacular and local languages as mobile penetration has exploded along with cheaper phones. OTT provides a very new and unique way to target its customer with only the kind of product ads he or she uses or is curious to know about. This kind of micro-targeting cannot be achieved through TV cable or dish-based services. Here, the user gets direct one-on-one exposure to the content unlike a TV, which the entire household watches together. Each member can now watch content in greater privacy. Netflix has done a great job with Sacred Games and that kind of visually appealing content best suited for OTT platforms. Players like Netflix, Amazon Prime, ALTBalaji, ZEE5, Hotstar and Eros are the popular OTT platforms and specialise in film and Bollywood themes.

SonyLIV does the cricket streaming and one can watch the India vs Australia cricket series live on it. Bollywood films and music-based content is also a hit with the masses whose attention is sparse. Therefore, high impact is important to get their attention. Both an advertiser and subscription-based model exists and that is the revenue source. Regional content is getting large views outside India. The overseas market for Indian languages is very substantial.

Edgy Content Drive the Market

The other factor is the lack of censorship and content guidelines and regulations. This means edgy content can be developed and new themes and characters can be explored. This will create new formats and film styles and effectively drive the market. More the age, more the stickiness and viewer attention. Shows like Narcos, Sacred Games, Ragini MMS and Karenjit Kaur based on the life of Sunny Leone could not have been made otherwise. Thus, it is a new opportunity for production houses to make original content and keep it edgy, shocking and over the top breaking new stories and themes. The advertising potential is huge and due to direct single viewership, one can micro-target ads while streaming according to the target audience, which did not exist in traditional modes like TV and cable. Some even peg the size of this industry to swell to 5000 crores in the coming future.

Convenience and Flexibility

You can download digital streaming content through devices like tablets, phones, laptops and PCs. Convenience and control are the keys, and the viewer has both in this case. He can log in and log out at will and choose to watch for as long he likes, where he likes and when he likes. He has full control over the medium and the content.


A model of research to measure subscriber base ala TRP for TV is yet to be established which would be the industry benchmark. Currently, you have subscribers, downloads, views and likes as a measure for the success of a particular piece of curated content.

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