OTT stands for ‘over-the-top’, a media service that refers to any online content provider offering streaming media as a standalone product. The streaming of audio or videos through the internet wirelessly is called OTT. OTT services are usually accessed via websites on personal computers, through apps on mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets), digital media players (including video game consoles), or smart TVs.
OTT services usually function through paid subscriptions.The increase use of Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms in India like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar Disney, Zee5,etc has made it easier for the audience to view not just different content from around the world but also experience new genres of movies, shows and series. OTT platforms, unlike the silver screen, allows a lot more experimentation because of their lower investments and formats. Over-the-top (OTT) content market in India is at an inflection as per a latest report . According to the report, by 2023 the Indian OTT market is likely to reach $5 billion in size. This growth is being driven a lot by the lockdown since people working from home have more spare time for OTT platforms. Here are some of the OTT platforms in India.
1. Netflix India
Netflix, a very famous OTT service which entered the Indian marketplace, in 2016, has already acquired the digital video entertainment space by a storm. Over the years, it has also given way to several similar startups and also more rivals. Since the arrival of OTT platforms, something that has caught pace is ‘Binge-watching’ and it also revolutionized the way people are consuming content every single day. Netflix first came into existence in 1997, and it took almost two decades for Netflix Inc. to carve a niche for itself. Now it is one of the top video streaming platforms across the world.
Netflix announced its entry into the Indian market in 2016 in between its much fanfare in Las Vegas. Indians received Netflix India with an open heart. Over four months of Covid-19 which induced lockdown may have spelt economic doom for the world but for the American video streaming platform Netflix has reported 22.49 million paid memberships in the Asia Pacific region with 2.66 million net additions in the June quarter. India itself accounts for around 5 million subscribers according to research surveys and media experts.Netflix subscription comes with a free trial of one month. Once the trial period ends, there are four different options to choose from:
The first plan of Netflix is the Netflix Mobile Plan The Netflix Mobile plan is priced at Rs. 199 per month This plan supports only one mobile device and has recently started supporting HD content too.
Netflix has four plans. The second is the Basic Plan. The Netflix Basic plan can be subscribed at Rs. 499 per month and it only supports only one device but it can be a bigger screen device such as laptop, tablet or TV.
Next comes the Netflix Standard Plan. The Netflix Standard plan is priced at Rs. 649 per month.This plan supports two screens simultaneously, be it a laptop, a mobile, TV, or a tablet. And, it also supports HD streaming of content.
Then comes the Netflix Premium Plan. The Premium plan from Netflix supports HD and Ultra HD content. It is priced at Rs. 799 per month and this plan supports up to four screens that can be accessed at the same time.
2. Amazon Prime Video
The paid subscription program from Amazon that gives users access to its premium additional services for Amazon customers is called Amazon Prime. The services included in the Amazon Prime package are streaming music and video, and the same or one or two-day delivery of products. Amazon Video service was first launched on September 7, 2006, in the United States as Amazon Unbox. Later on, the service was renamed Amazon Video on Demand on September 4, 2008. Currently, Amazon Prime has a worldwide subscribership of more than 150 million customers.
Amazon Video first started out as a place to purchase and watch TV shows and movies, then later on the industry changed and Amazon too soon caught up with the world of unlimited, large content streaming for a single monthly fee called Amazon Prime Video. Amazon Prime Video offers vast original content and a large collection of movies and TV shows that one can stream undaunted by quality. Subscribers even have the option to download content and even watch 4K titles. On top of that, Amazon also hosts an impressive catalog of movies and TV shows available for rent or purchase.
Amazon also has a music streaming service for subscribers called Prime Music, which allows one to stream music from a library of more than two million songs. Here one can listen to many songs as you like, and even download tracks to your phone for offline listening. Just like Prime Video, all of Amazon Prime Music content can also be accessed through your computer’s browser, or through the Amazon Music app on your mobile device or on the media streamer.
When Netflix comes in with various priced plans starting from Rs. 199 per month, this OTT service from Amazon comes in a single plan. What’s more interesting is that the Prime Video service is just one of the parts of the benefits you get on subscribing to the Prime service. You also get a 30 day trial here. The Amazon Prime plan is priced at Rs. 129 per month and has an annual subscription priced at Rs. 999 per year. The Prime Video plan supports up to three devices, be it smartphones, tablets, TVs, and laptops. And most importantly the Prime Video lets users stream ad-free content across various languages, as well as it lets users enjoy movies, original series, and there is content for kids too. With Prime, Video one does not require to pay any additional cost to stream HD or 4K content.
3. Disney + Hotstar
One of the OTT platforms available in India is Disney+ Hotstar. The streaming service called Disney Plus was launched in the US back in November. Later on, it quickly expanded to many other countries, including India. But in India, the Indian users saw the existing Hotstar streaming platform rebranded to Disney Plus Hotstar app instead of a dedicated app. Earlier, the Disney + Hotstar streaming service was supposed to go live on March 29 this year, but due to the coronavirus outbreak there happened a delay and as part of beta testing, some of the users got early access to the Disney+ content.
The previous Hotstar app is now known as Disney+ Hotstar and there is a dedicated Disney+ tab in the app for showcasing Disney movies, cartoons, TV shows, as well as original content. The previously Hotstar VIP and Hotstar Premium are currently the Disney+Hotstar VIP and the Disney+Hotstar Premium. There is also an increase in the price of the premium service. For existing subscribers of Hotstar premium or VIP, you need not pay extra at all. For them the subscription charges continue at the earlier prices of Rs 999 per year or Rs 365 per year respectively. But when your earlier subscription ends, then the renewal will come with the new prices.
The existing subscribers of this streaming app automatically got the upgrades. Like Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar does not have any special subscription plan for multiple devices. However, according to the new pricing plans the Disney+ Hotstar VIP plan will now cost Rs 399 per year which was previously Rs 365, while the Disney+ Hotstar Premium plan pricing has been increased to a 1,499 Rs per year which was Rs 999 before. And Jio TV+ users will get access to Disney+ Hotstar content for free in India.
4. Sony Liv
Sony Liv is a universal entertainment and video-on-demand service owned by Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd with its headquarters in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. As for today, we are surrounded by television networks but the focus these days is on Netflix and other over-the-top (OTT) platforms that are slowly but steadily ruining the cable TV business. So in the age of on-demand content, Sony too had to catch up on the race.
While Star India’s Hotstar + Disney had surpassed every other OTT player in India with over 300 Million monthly users and took a huge leap by being first on the scene, Sony too had to follow the pursuit by launching SonyLIV. SonyLIV was initially launched in 2013. The platform has also quickly collected a huge number of users with the company recently revealing that it got a 100 Mn downloads on the Google Play Store, becoming the second OTT player to cross the landmark after Hotstar.
SonyLIV like Hotstar streams, sports matches, cricket in particular. SonyLIV collaborated with the production company The Viral Fever (TVF) for content rights and has successfully gone onto launch its own OTT platform some of which is now available on SonyLIV. It’s rumored that Sony Pictures Networks and Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd’s imminent merger is likely to happen and help their respective video streaming platforms.
Just like any other OTT and streaming platforms available right now, comes the SonyLIV premium subscription plans.. The price of the SonyLIV comes at Rs. 99 per month and its annual subscription plan comes at Rs. 499 per year and for both the plans one device at a time can be used.
Taking into account India’s own digital entertainment platform, ZEE5 Club is one of the most preferred OTT platforms today for streaming shows and movies. We can find anything here from Bollywood to regional cinema. An Indian video-on-demand service run by Essel Group is ZEE5 which is a subsidiary of Zee Entertainment Enterprises. ZEE5 was first launched in India on 14 February 2018 with content in 12 languages. Now, what’s different about ZEE5 Club? The thing that differentiates this platform from the others is that with this OTT platform we get 12 navigational as well as featured content language selection across to watch your favorite content. You can also stream in short series, Kids entertainment programs, and that too in the choice of language.
ZEE5, the video-streaming platform, has recently introduced a new annual subscription plan, called the ZEE Club. The new plan is priced at Rs. 365 and offers a large quantity of content and options for a whole year. In addition to the already available All-Access Plan that is priced at Rs. 999 for a year, comes the new Rs. 365 ZEE5 Club annual plan. All the content that is available on ZEE5 can be accessed with theAll Access plan. For people new to this platform can opt to pay only Rs. 99 per month to watch the ZEE5 content and you also have a quarterly plan priced at Rs. 299 of the All Access plan. And the great thing over here is that you can watch content on up to 5 devices at a time.
You can access these OTT platforms which are being offered as bundled services by partnered telecom operators. And these partnerships helped the OTT platforms through concessions and discounts for subscribers have become more affordable. There was a time when Airtel partnered with Netflix and Amazon Prime and offered a year free membership to users of its Infinity Postpaid plans. It also has a strategic partnership with Hotstar to make its content available on the Airtel TV DTH service.
Similarly, other telecom companies such as Jio and Vodafone-Idea had also secured deals with OTT platforms. Jio parent Reliance industries have acquired stakes in Eros Now and ALTBalaji’s Balaji Telefilms. Earlier this year, SonyLIV too partnered with Vodafone-Idea to give access to SonyLIV exclusive digital content in Hindi and English to its telecom subscribers.