How long has it been since you last caught a movie or a sitcom on television with your family? I can bet it has been really long since this phenomenon has occurred. It is because we have drifted away from the regular Television schedules and have moved on to Mobile entertainment.
We catch our share of entertainment (movies, episode series, and sports) on the go, with the help of services like in India Hotstar trends while in abroad it’s Netflix and the list doesn’t end here. The only reason one needs a TV anymore is if it is smart enough to support such services. Apart from that, it seems like mere home decoration.
With the growing crossover of the audience, video streaming platforms are engaging in close ranged battles where each wants to bag the majority. With the internet speeds rising and data prices plummeting, it creates a feasible environment for the boom of OTT (over the top) market. Contenders for the title of the best service provider are many. India as it is, was crowded and now has attracted global giants like Netflix while Amazon Video is lined up to launch its services in the country. This has led to Twitter clashes and a growing divide too.
A recent spat over Twitter between Hotstar and Netflix is an example of how competitive the game has become. The former ridiculed the latter to have adopted their marketing strategy for the premium shows. Netflix opted for outdoor advertising in a native language for an international hit TV series House of Cards. Something similar was practiced by Hotstar in 2015 when they were promoting a show with AIB (All India Bakchod). This is just a mere example of how eager the service providers are to woo the Indian audiences, and it reflects a big change is bound to occur in the coming times.
In the times when Amazon Prime services are made available in India recently, HuffPost India recently reported that Amazon has roped the eminent directors from the film fraternity, Vishal Bhardwaj and Vidhu Vinod Chopra to create the original web-shows only for their platform while Netflix has already signed Anurag Kashyap to do the same. With the rivalry fuelling in to stay at the top, Eros Now and Voot are also trying to grab the attention of the viewers.
Voot has managed to direct the audiences from YouTube on their platform for their own shows, various television shows like of Colors, and majorly the MTV India ones like Roadies, Splitsvilla, Coke Studio, etc. Raghu Ram recently came up with a web series A.I.SHA on the Arre, a digital content platform which is also trying to make its presence count among the OTT platforms. These are the recently launched platforms and have been running to engage the audiences with their original content. This is the start of the chapter for the transformation of the Indian scenario.
Nonetheless, TVFPlay stands like a hotspot for the youth which gained popularity through its web series titled as TVF Pitchers last year, and has been flowing the charts since years on the YouTube with their original web-shows like Permanent Roommates and Qtiyapa series garnering millions of views and then, their TVF Inbox is making movies available online on the rental basis plans. With no doubt, The Viral Fever (TVF) too has something big in its pocket.
The low-quality content on the Television having countless adverts that one viewer keeps on shuffling the channels to find one single show of their interest among the hundreds of channels engrossed the need of the hour.
India being the 3rd largest user of internet serves a huge active-internet users (customers) base for providers of the OTT entertainment. The way either of the video streaming platforms plans to reign in India is by providing a perfect balance of international and local/regional content. Indians as audiences have evolved themselves into more sophisticated viewers; for a very long time piracy via torrents has been the first option for the country people, but with a number of Torrent databases shutting down we find preferences changing for the viewers, recently Kickass Torrents has been shut down and a torrents’ search engine Torrentz.eu bid the farewell to the internet.
Torrent servers, which provide the audience with low-quality content has been pushed on the back foot and have started losing its spectre when YIFY Torrent called to shut down their services. It has tormented not just the international filmmakers but also the hardworking creative Indians. Fight against piracy is an everlasting one and with the help of video streaming services, producers and entertainers will have a better leverage.
Netflix which launched its service to the Indian Audience in January this year (although with a cut-down database) has received a huge response. To up the game, there are a number of factors that are regarded as deciders. Firstly, the availability of higher bandwidths for streaming the high-quality content. Although there have been developments on this front, yet we are not at par with the international standards. Secondly, change in perception of the audience so they would opt for legal ways of accessing content and thirdly, expanding the database of movies and shows (+ providing local content).
The race for transformation of Indian cinematic experience has just begun when the brands have started opting various different ways for the acquisition of customers (read viewers).
(With inputs from Ayush Garg).