Rise In Streaming Services like Netflix, Hotstar and Zee5 during the lockdown

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Life has changed dramatically over the past century because of the involvement of media into our lives. With the itched influence of media in human lives, the evolution can be evidently seen in humans as well as media itself which gave rise to streaming services.

The transition of media entertainment from local D2H connection, radios, DVD rentals, to other streaming services has stirred placidly. As streaming became more efficient, options for using different technology and devices started to diversify for people to use. Since the early 1990s the technology started to revolutionize at a thriving rate and people started to rely on the Internet for their mode of entertainment as well as for many facets of their lifestyles. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops have made access to all the multimedia information very abutting and convenient for everybody.  Nowadays, streaming reckons on the Internet to stream released as well as live content on various platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Pandora, Hulu, etc. These services are front and center of the new mobile device revolution. These streaming platforms deliver various services like shows, videos, music, games, live broadcast, audiobooks, etc.

There are various factors to drive the growth of streaming services like, increase in adoption of cloud-based streaming solutions, an increase in live-streamed content, and a rise in popularity of game streaming services, extensive use of streaming platforms in corporate training as well as the massive growth of online video in developing economies. The rise in the impact of streaming in the education sector and the integration of advanced technologies on streaming platforms to improve video quality are opening gates for numerous opportunities for the market.

The consumption of every kind of multimedia information featured online has benefited the business of many Streaming platforms. More than 200 countries are streaming online and contributing to the increased valuation of the Streaming media.  The global value of the Streaming market was valued at $245.3 billion in 2018. According to the study done by eMarketer’s, in 2019 a consumer used to spend around 83 minutes per day on online Streaming platforms which have grown to 92 minutes in 2020. The global streaming market is predicted to reach $688.7 billion by 2024, advancing at a 19.1% CAGR during the forecast period (2019-2024).

The outburst of Covid-19 has increased the number of viewers and producers for content consumption and distribution. The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), an industry body representing broadcasters, advertisers and media agencies, in association with US-based data analytics firm Nielsen, has released the third edition of its report on TV and smartphone consumption. The report took into account all the statistics of streaming platforms- Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Voot, MX Player Online, and Zee5.

“During this unfortunate lockdown, India has become more digital-savvy with many people coming on to the Internet. What we need to do is concentrate on consumer segmentation, understand how to retain customers better and work onboarding the new segment that has just been acquainted with the Internet,” said Nachiket Pantvaidya, CEO, ALTBalaji and group COO, Balaji Telefilms.

The urgency and severity of the current situation have forced everyone to maintain social distancing and to shut down the entertainment avenues for the time being. And this the reason people have turned up to video-on-demand devices for entertainment.  A report by BARC and Nielsen estimates a 96% increase in their user base and a 7% rise in time spent on streaming platforms. Rohit Jain, managing director, Lionsgate South Asia said the streaming service has seen streams increase by 80% in May as compared to March.

Initially, the primary audience of Streaming service was mostly urban and millennial crowds. But after the lockdown, these streaming platforms have discovered a new audience in the 40-plus generation that is hung up on old classics, both films, and television to whom earlier these sources of entertainment remained out of reach. Hiren Gada, chief executive officer at Shemaroo Entertainment said, “We’ve definitely seen a good spike in the consumption of classics over the past three weeks across genres, be it comedy, action, or romance,”. He also added that Shemaroo Entertainment not only offers movies for free on YouTube but has its own streaming service ShemarooMe.

According to a joint report released by television monitoring agency BARC and data measurement firm Nielsen earlier this month, smartphone usage in India has spotted spurge among a slightly older age group which is the 35-44 category. The growth rate rose by  18%  in consumption within two weeks of COVID-19 lockdown and disruption.

According to the report of BARC, users of these platforms are spending around 12 percent more time on online streaming platforms during the lockdown period (20 March to 3 April) than they did before (calculated from 13 January to 2 February).

The report also suggests that each user is spending 32 percent more time watching original series on the platform. While the report doesn’t mention any particular series, examples of popular Indian originals include Sacred Games and SHE on Netflix, and Special Ops on Hotstar. Also, there has been a 52 percent increase in the movies watched due to the closure of cinema halls amid the shutdown. The time spent on non-original series saw a decline of 17 percent, while that for sports is down by 83 percent because of the sporting events being suspended due to the pandemic.

Streaming portals have proved to be an aid for millions of Indians for leisure until the pandemic ends. According to the US-based Boston Consulting Group, the Indian streaming market is estimated to grow to $5 billion by 2023 from $500 million in 2018.

Heres’s a detailed analysis of the business and activity status of the streaming platform studied by BARC due to the lockdown:

Netflix: eMarketer analyst Eric Haggstrom stated, “Netflix is and will continue to be the media company least impacted by COVID-19.”. Amid the lockdown, there are 2.3 million new members joining the service, compared to just 550,000 in the final months of 2019. The firm in total now has more than 182 million subscribers worldwide. Netflix said revenue increased to $5.76 billion, up more than 27% compared to the same period in 2019. Profits almost doubled, from $344 million in the first quarter of 2019 to $709 million. Netflix had predicted it would add 7 million new customers during the whole quarantine period. The company’s total revenue rose to $5.77 billion from $4.52 billion within the lockdown period. Analysts of the company on average had expected $5.76 billion. Analysts of the company on average had expected $5.76 billion.

Zee5: The portal of Zee5 has witnessed a rise over 45 percent in paid viewership (may include multiple people using the same subscription), an 80 percent increase in the number of new subscriptions during the lockdown. Zee5 CEO Tarun Katial said, “The viewing time has increased by over 50% with Daily Active Users (DAUs) and app downloads rising by 15 percent and 41 percent, respectively.”  The connected devices have also seen a 3X growth in this period. They have also free premium content access to all the users during the lockdown period. 

Amazon Prime:  Amazon Prime Video was launched in 2016. The platform has 2,300 titles available including 2,000 movies and about 400 shows. Amazon Prime Video has announced that it will invest ₹20 billion in creating original content in India. Besides English, Prime Video is available in six Indian languages as of December 2018. In January 2020, the Prime Videos had more than 150 million subscribers worldwide which have now increased to over 400 subscriptions as of May 2020. The overall business has increased by 189 percent and 67per cent rise in the subscription.

Hotstar:  Hotstar, now known as “Disney+Hotstar”, is the most subscribed–to OTT platform in India owned by Star India. Just before the outburst of Covid-19, there were around 150 million active users and over 350 million downloads and as of May 2020, the number of users and downloads have increased to 300 million active users and over 400 million downloads respectively. Hotstar began investing ₹120 crores in generating original content called “Hotstar Specials”. 80% of the viewership on Hotstar during lockdown comes from drama, movies, and sports programs. The overall boost in the business is 127 percent during the lockdown and 41 percent rise in the subscription.

Voot:  Voot is a video-on-demand platform that is a part of the digital arm of Viacom18. This OTT app holds the content of 45,000 hours. In January 2020, Voot’s active user reach set foot on 100 million users and the number of downloads stood at more than 100 million after the lockdown the active users increased to over 200 million and the number of downloads have also increased tremendously. The total business growth in the lockdown was 123 percent. 

MX Player Online: MX Player is a video streaming app owned by Times Internet. It has emerged as the fastest-growing OTT entertainment platform in India. According to Comscore, the Covid-19 induced lockdown in India has lead to an increase in 8 percent of visitors on the MX Player Online Platform. The number of unique visitors was 130 million in February which then increased to 141 million after the lockdown was imposed. The average time spent online on the portal also went up by 23 percent.

While the whole pandemic situation is haunting many, the entertainment industry is continuing to evolve. The rise of streaming services is undoubtedly helping to spread content globally. For many streaming platforms, stream creators, artists, and other people involved in many vocations, the lockdown has proved to be a boon. 

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