While all the traditional media verticals witnessed a negative trend over the previous year, digital subscriptions grew by 49 per cent, according to a report published by MICA Ahmedabad. As per the fourth edition of the Indian Over-the-Top (OTT) Platforms Report 2021 (post-pandemic consumption), published by MICA Ahmedabad.

Released in association with Ahmedabad-based start-up Communication Crafts, while Indian consumers love to access content for free, 29 million subscribers paid for 53 million OTT video subscriptions in 2020.

The report analysed data shared by Comscore, an American media measurement and analytics company to highlight OTT’s everchanging ecosystem in India’s media and entertainment sector and the challenges and opportunities awaiting content creators and platforms. It was prepared by MICA’s Centre for Media and Entertainment Studies (CMES) and captures trends between April 2020 and March 2021 across 53 OTT platforms such as video, music, gaming, and news.

As per the report, India is marching towards the milestone of one billion internet users quickly. Over 450 million Indian entertainment consumers spent 4.6 hours per day on their smartphones in the lockdown year. Further, online gaming witnessed an 18 per cent growth over the last year. 

The report further added content consumption on OTT platforms was the highest among men, especially in the age group of 15-24. Viewers aged 15-34 consumed the highest content across video OTT, gaming, music, and news apps in 2020-21, it further added. 

Shailendra Raj Mehta, President & Director, MICA, said, “The year 2020-21 was particularly significant, with the pandemic forcing consumers to stay homebound. This brought about a paradigm shift in consumption patterns.”

Prof. Santosh Patra, Head, Centre for Media and Entertainment Studies (CMES) at MICA, said, “The OTT industry is set to be worth $15 billion by 2030. Smartphones with affordable data plans have made strong inroads across the country. This has brought the requisite infrastructure to people’s fingertips across the country and created a massive opportunity. The next wave of growth in the OTT landscape, thus, will be propelled by the tier-II, -III, -IV cities and the Indian regional languages-speaking population.”

The fourth edition of the report has also added edutainment platforms like Byju’s and Vedantu, social media platforms, two regional video platforms, and bundled platforms.

OTT platforms 

When it came to watching movies or web shows on OTT platforms, male viewers dominated the spaces except for Voot and Zee5 despite the nature of the content offered by various platforms. Male viewers on Netflix were 17.36 per cent more than the female viewers, and the maximum number of viewers fall in the age group of 15-24 years. Whereas for Disney+ Hotstar, the audience viewing falls in the age bracket of 6 to 34 years in both genders.

However, male viewers outnumbered female viewers by 1.6 times. For Sony LIV, the male audience outnumbered the female viewers by 1.2 times. On Amazon Prime as well, male viewers occupied the most significant chunk. Even for MX Player, the total male audience was 2.27 times higher than the female audience.

However, for Voot, the female audience outnumbered the male audience for this platform. On Zee5, the number of male and female audiences was almost the same. In terms of geography, Chennai topped the entertainment consumption with a 73 per cent viewership of Disney+ Hotstar. 

The report also shared popular content across platforms. The most-watched content on YouTube included Kota Factory, What the Folks, Please Find Attached, Soulmates, and Better Life Foundation. Indian Matchmaking, Blood of Zeus, Bad Boy Billionaires, Mismatched, The Protector, and Too Hot to Handle was the most-watched movies and series on Netflix. In terms of K-Dramas, Indians loved watching The King: Eternal Monarch, Kingdom, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, and Start-up.

For Hotstar and Sony LIV, it was Aarya 2, Special Ops, Hostages, Out of love, Scam 1992, JL 50, Avrodh, Gullak, and Undekhi. On Prime, Indians watched Made in Heaven, The Family Man, Mirzapur, Breathe, Paatal Lok, and Panchayat the most.

Men outnumber women in music consumption

Men outnumbered women in terms of music consumption. Among platforms, Amazon Prime Music was accessed three times more by men above the age of 35 years than women above 35 years. Similarly, most men between the ages of 25 and 34 years frequent the app, while women of that age group were five times fewer.

For Spotify, the platform recorded 1.5 times more male users than females. In terms of age, the maximum number of users fell to 15–24 years, Male users were double the female users. In terms of preferences, over 60 per cent of the top ten albums streamed through the year on Spotify had music from international artists.

Among Indian independent artists streamed abroad, Prateek Kuhad, The F16s, Ritviz, Lost Stories, and Nucleya were the most popular. Spotify further witnessed an 1,100 per cent growth with Hindi podcasts, with Ranveer Allahbadia, Jay Shetty, and Dhruv Rathee being part of Spotify Wrapped’s Top 5 most streamed shows.

For Wynk Music, most female audiences were in the age group of 15-24 years, but their number was significantly fewer than their male counterparts. A similar trend was observed with other apps like Jio Saavn and Apple music. Devotional and romantic playlists dominated Gaana’s listener patterns.

Social media platforms

Users aged 35 and above-dominated platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook. WhatsApp had 37 per cent male users and 40 per cent female users in this age bracket. Male users on WhatsApp were 1.5 times higher than female users. Overall, the Meta-owned messaging platform saw a 40 per cent increase in usage at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

For Facebook, the trend was similar as the male users outnumber the female users by 65 per cent. The 35+ age group had the highest number of users on Facebook. Whereas for Instagram and LinkedIn, most users belonged to the 15-24 age group. Male users on Instagram were 1.8 times higher than female users, whereas, on LinkedIn, they outnumbered female users by 1.6 times.

However, unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn saw a downward trend in desktop users and an upward growth in mobile app users. Desktop users in August 2020 were the highest. In the case of the mobile app, there has been an almost 69 per cent increase in the number of users. For Snapchat, the mobile app witnessed an upward trend between April 2020 and March 2021 as the number of users grew twice.

Telegram recorded an increase of 61 per cent of users due to changes in Whatsapp’s privacy policies. The male users outnumbered female users by almost two times. In the male users, the age group of 15-24 years had the highest number of users, which was 40 per cent of the total male users, whereas, in the female users, the age group of 15-24 years had the highest number of users numbering almost 42 per cent of the total users. Pinterest however, had higher female users than males.

Gaming

Online gaming recorded higher growth due to more screen time. The number of female users grew in terms of online gaming. However, overall, the clear leader among all the players were the male members between 15 and 24. 

Darshin Ashwin Trivedi, Editor, MICA Indian OTT Platforms Report and Adjunct Faculty at MICA, said, “Indian OTT consumers are primarily young, within 15-34. Gaming, especially e-sports, short-form video content, news app consumption, music platforms consumption, podcasts, video platforms consumption, crowd-sourced food content creation, and education platforms content creation and consumption were some of the highlights of the previous year. Indian OTT segment is all set to get redefined with the launch of 5G.”

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