Smartphones are driving an explosion of OTT streaming in India, 5G will be a game-changer


By Nishant Arora

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS): What do Indians like to watch on their smartphones? It’s entertainment and cricket. Whether it’s live streaming or TV shows, more and more of the nearly 600 million Indians who use smartphones are watching their favorite shows on personal devices, which is a big boost. necessary for the country’s OTT platforms.

From YouTube to Netflix and Zee5 to MX Player, daily content consumption has only increased over the two years of the pandemic.

Indians currently spend almost five hours on their smartphones (according to app intelligence firm App Annie), and streaming is becoming a regular part of life for millions of people, including users in rural India.

According to Tarun Pathak, research director at Counterpoint Research, OTT consumption and smartphones go hand in hand.

“As more and more people buy smartphones with powerful specs, longer battery life and bigger screens, content consumption will only grow in the country,” Pathak told IANS.

India’s video streaming market has exploded – thanks to Reliance Jio and its ultra-cheap data plans – with over 65% of video consumption coming from rural India which has around 40% internet connectivity .

The expansion of the traditional audience in the streaming space, the popularity of international content (such as Korean or Spanish) in India, and the ability to attract a wider audience through subtitles and content doubled have caused established streaming service providers to rethink their strategy for the Indian market, according to reports.

In December 2021, Netflix reduced the prices of its streaming services in India by 60%, to 199 rupees per month for its basic package. On the other hand, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar have slightly increased their monthly subscription prices.

Walt Disney’s streaming service Disney+ Hotstar added 2.6 million paying subscribers in the first quarter ended January 1, 2022 to bring its total base to 45.9 million in India.

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video do not reveal their figures by country.

A recent CII-BCG report revealed that India had 70-80 million paid subscribers on OTT platforms at the end of 2021, up from 14 million in 2018.

Wilmot Reed Hastings, co-founder, president and president of Netflix, said earlier this year that what is unique in India is that cable costs about $3 per month per household.

“Pricing so dramatically different from the rest of the world, which impacts consumer expectations. The good news is that in all other major markets, we have the steering wheel spinning. What frustrates us is that’s why we haven’t been as successful in India. But we’re definitely looking into that,” Hastings told analysts.

According to Gregory K. Peters, COO and Chief Product Officer at Netflix, they are learning more about the tastes of Indian consumers, which expands the service’s offerings in many different dimensions.

India, which is the world’s third-largest market for 5G smartphones, saw nearly 30 million 5G-ready smartphones in 2021, compared to just 3 million in 2020.

Total cumulative smartphone shipments in the country are expected to reach 1.7 billion over the period 2022-2026, creating a market of around $250 billion; of which nearly 840 million 5G devices are expected to be sold over a five-year period.

“I think 5G will have a positive impact on OTT consumption in India. The biggest change that can be expected is the quality of content that can be consumed anywhere, especially on the go,” Pathak said. .

Content creators will think beyond network boundaries when creating content, especially in ultra-high definition with very low latency.

This, Pathak said, can further drive innovation and make OTT a very competitive space, especially when everyone is aiming to get the maximum share of users’ time.

(Nishant Arora can be reached at


Comments are closed.