With the growth and popularity of several digital platforms reaching India's second-largest population, OTT entertainment is challenging traditional television's dominance in the country. India now has over 30 OTT providers, including domestic and international giants such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hotstar, Zee5, and Eros. The over-the-top market is expected to increase at a 21.8 per cent CAGR from Rs. 4,464 crores in 2018 to Rs. 11,976 crores in 2023, according to Price Waterhouse Coopers Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2019-23. There is no doubt that OTT is gaining traction and to address that, the Founder and CEO of ATRANGII TV Vibhu Agarwal, discusses the emergence and expansion of OTT platforms.

With the pandemic causing a complete shutdown of the country's entertainment-movie industry, it's no exaggeration to say that over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms came to the rescue. During this time, some films were released on OTT platforms rather than in theatres. According to industry and internet search data, OTT platform viewership increased in 2020, particularly in smaller towns and cities. Between January to July 2020, paid subscriptions in the OTT market surged by 30 per cent, from 21 to 29 million notably. The platforms were most popular among those between 15 and 35. “OTT presently has a 7-9 per cent market share in India's $27 billion M&E business. However, by 2030, it is expected to have a market share of 22 to 25 per cent,” states Vibhu Agarwal.

Although the early effect has faded for all platforms, net viewership remains significantly greater than in pre-pandemic months. Low-budget films that are watched on small screens are growing their direct-to-digital releases and are more inexpensive for OTT platforms, which can provide a revenue stream for production houses. 

Furthermore, increased internet, smartphone discernment, and enhanced payment options can be connected to the increased popularity of subscription-based OTT services. Above all, to establish niche properties, these corporations have substantially invested in content, price improvements, and bundling. Netflix, for example, offers India options that are less expensive than those given in other countries. According to the CII-BCG report, the Indian plans of global streaming companies are on average 70-90 per cent lower than their US market rates.

The OTT market is riding high, propelled by the pandemic and the captivated audiences it has generated. It shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Customer acquisition is critical in order to keep these numbers soaring. Viewers no longer have the time to browse through hundreds of channels in search of something to watch. After only a few pages of browsing, the modern consumer expects to find the information they require. Therefore, to ensure that a service is a must-have aspect of consumers' subscription stack, it is becoming increasingly crucial to keep viewers extremely engaged. It's vital to optimise the content available to them, tailor it for them, and make it simple to locate. Content is king and important to success when it comes to increasing client acquisition and engagement. 

Nonetheless, Vibhu Agarwal, the Founder and CEO of ATRANGII TV, believes that the Indian OTT market has only recently begun to grow up and will remain a high-volume market. With more foreign streaming firms entering the Indian market and OTT service bundling with mobile data plans, further pricing experimentation is expected. In the coming years, the emphasis should be on becoming profitable rather than chasing audiences at all costs before the gold rush finishes and consolidation begins.

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