After enjoying a sudden boom in 2020 during the Covid-19 induced lockdown, consumption of digital content till this February fell to 188 billion minutes, from 239 billion minutes in October 2020, a Redseer report stated. According to the market tracker, the 6% drop in viewership of original OTT content was registered after productions of daily TV shows resumed and started getting broadcast.
“The drop is mostly because engagement dropped as users started moving out with normalcy returning and their favourite TV soaps starting again,” the newsletter stated. International OTT platforms, like Disney+Hotstar, and domestic platforms, like Zee5, Hoichoi, SunNXT, and Voot, stream local language daily soaps that have added paid subscriptions to these platforms.
The market tracker surveyed Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Zee5, Hotstar, Voot, MX Player, and other platforms in terms of the content dispersed across them, namely, originals, TV series, movies, daily soaps, and others, however, not specifying the “other” category.
Out of the 188 billion minutes, users spent 69 billion minutes on daily soaps, followed by movies and then originals, with Voot dominating the daily soap genre. While Hotstar leads in the movie genre, a significant chunk of its added subscription base can be attributed to its sports segment. Despite Netflix and Amazon Prime Video being the premium platforms, they have a minuscule number of TV series, movies and originals, and no daily soaps. Although the release of some big-banner films tried levelling the ground, their lack of performance during the last quarter of 2020, and into 2021, did not prove to be of much help.
“However, the good news is with more releases in the pipeline along with product improvement, the engagement is likely to increase,” the report said, adding that subscription revenue increased by 8% and the unique paid subscribers, by 35%.
While Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have focused on international and domestic content, centripetal to films and series, the domestic platforms like Voot, the digital off-shoot of Viacom 18, has gone local by streaming not only daily soaps as independent series, but streaming partner channels like Colors TV and its several local outfits, from Colors Hindi and Bangla, to Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati, and Marathi.
This in amalgamation with its current offer of a low subscription plan of Rs 350 annually and access to the premium shows, adds to its reputation, considering the preference for annual plans to the monthly ones.