Published on March 11, 2021

AHMEDABAD: Cooped up at home, juggling between domestic chores and office assignments, what did India do with smartphones? The Indian OTT Platforms Report 2020 by MICA and Communications Craft revealed that the average respondent of the survey spent about 3 hours and 54 minutes on their smartphones, and watched videos for 8 hours 43 minutes every week on an average.

About 75% of the respondents said that they watched comedy content on over the top (OTT) platforms in form of TV shows, web series, movies or stand-up acts. The other top genre mentioned by the respondents included Thriller (62%), Drama (59%) and Action (41%).

Darshan Trivedi, adjunct faculty at MICA and editor of the report, said that the year 2020 would be a landmark for the OTT platforms. “In the last report, we had witnessed its rise and direct competition with the TV and other media – but in absence of conventional cinema, the content on OTTs became more ambitious and attracted a very wide audience which was ready for shows on unconventional themes,” said Dr Trivedi.

“If there is one industry that has come out a winner from this painful pandemic, it’s the OTT industry. And this while the overall entertainment space has taken an adverse hit much like most other industries,” said Chirag Dagli, director of Communications Craft. “The reason lies in the fact that the platforms have taken full advantage of insights emerging from usage analytics in understanding consumer tastes, preferences, and likings.”

Other sectors such as social media, music streaming and online gaming have also recorded major spike in engagement. While social media platforms recorded 19% rise in visits, news and media consumption rose by 32%. But gaming took the cake with 49% rise. The report revealed that the games ranged from online versions of conventional card games to major multiplayer role-playing games. Men remained over 66% of the consumers of the space, but share of women is rising steadily, said the research team.

Regional platforms see upward trend

Trivedi said that major platforms are now leaning towards content in regional languages along with acquiring/ producing in Hindi and English. “In Gujarat alone, we have seen launch or announcement of three exclusive Gujarati OTT platforms in past one month. One of the reasons for push in this segment is a large catchment area outside of metros where smartphones and good internet connectivity is now easily available,” he said, adding that the investment and content production would see a huge boost in 2021 as well.

Exclusive content got more traction, nature of viewing individualistic

The report also highlighted the fact that the exclusive shows and movies got more viewership across the platforms. The top 20 shows is an eclectic mix of crime dramas,thrillers, adult content, romantic comedies and docudramas. The original content ranged from 44% to 17% for the top platforms, revealed the report. ‘There have been changes in the viewership patterns… Now people have started to watch more on their smartphones and laptops rather than a scheduled TV show,’ mentioned the report, adding that it has influenced content creation.

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