Last Updated: 01.13 PM, May 17, 2023
New Delhi: Disney+ Hotstar, the video streaming service owned by Walt Disney, led premium VoD (video-on-demand) category consumption in India in calendar year 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, with 38% viewership share over the measured period, driven by sports as well as the depth of its Hindi and regional entertainment. The combined Zee-Sony group had 13% premium VoD category share in aggregate with their respective platforms, which are expected to operate separately for another year, benefiting from strong engagement across sports as well as regional, local and international content.
These are findings from a report titled India Online Video Report: Analysis of Consumption, Content & Investment Trends, by Media Partners Asia (MPA), an independent provider of research, advisory and consulting services across the media and telecoms sectors in Asia Pacific. For the report, the platform passively measured real consumption on Android and iOS mobile and computer devices in India across calendar year (CY) 2022, and the three months to March 2023, or Q1 2023, with a sample size of 13,000.
The period under review for this report ended Q1 2023 before the launch of IPL on Jio Cinema. As a result, its share of the premium VoD category was limited to 2%. In spite of several tech glitches impacting user experience, the free live streaming of the men’s IPL cricket ensured that Jio Cinema consumption grew more than 20 times in April to ensure that it dominated the premium VoD category.
During the said period, Prime Video and Netflix had an aggregate 10% share of premium VoD category minutes. Prime Video continues to benefit from a good mix of content across genres and languages with crime and thriller, and action and adventure leading the way, the report said. Prime Video also garnered almost a third of its viewership from regional Indian titles. In aggregate, more than 60% of Prime Video’s viewership was anchored to local content. This was in contrast to Netflix where local content contribution to viewership was 24%. Various seasons of Netflix’s major US titles have achieved sustained viewership.
Total consumption across the online video sector reached 6.1 trillion minutes for the 15-month period from January 2022 to March 2023. The premium VoD category had a 12% share compared with 10% in 2021, with YouTube remaining dominant with 88% share. The 12% compares well with other emerging markets such as Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines where the norm for premium VoD share is below 10% but trails more developed markets such as Australia (35%).
With catch-up TV content dominating the free-tier across freemium streaming platforms, Indian content dominates premium VoD viewership excluding sports. Content viewership on paid tiers was led by international content, which contributed 51% of total paid tier premium VoD consumption over 2022-23. US content remains the primary driver with 36% share while Korean content is growing and reached 6% share during the measured period. Local content contributed 49% overall to the paid tier with Indian originals contributing 26%.
“The next 6-12 months will remain critical for the OTT sector as platforms strive to balance monetization and profitability against content investment,” MPA India vice president Mihir Shah said in a statement.
Disney+ Hotstar retains a strong local entertainment platform, powered by Star’s Hindi and regional content depth, Shah added. Among global players, Amazon Prime Video is closing on 20 million paid subscribers. Its success is largely attributable to launch of its mobile edition, a new ad tier, Prime Video Channels, and TVoD along with a deep bench of regional content. Netflix will continue to grow at pace though with relatively low ARPUs – its cadence of local originals remains impressive but still contributes less than 30% to overall viewership on the platform, Shah added.
“In spite of several tech glitches impacting user experience, the free live streaming of the men’s IPL cricket ensured that Jio Cinema consumption grew substantially in April 2023 while its average daily engagement reached 50 minutes. However, sustained viewership levels will remain critical in the absence of IPL cricket during the second half of 2023 especially as the platform has increased its investment in local content and premium international content, setting the stage for the growth of its premium tier,” Shah said.