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OTT goes mobile in India

News, 15 January 2016

NEW DELHI: Television is the leading device for viewing long-form video content in India but the growth of 4G and OTT services could start to change that in the future.

A new global study – Global Video Insights Report 2015 – by Vuclip, a mobile VOD service, was based on a survey of 4,600 users, 18-35 years old, smartphone internet users who viewed videos on their smartphones at least once a month. Respondents came from six developing nations, including India, and four developed.

This found that the great majority of viewers preferred TV for live broadcast and watching videos longer than ten minutes, although a sizeable 33% of smartphone users in India used this device to view such content.

When it comes to short-form content – under ten minutes – 85% of Indian viewers opted for a smartphone, compared to 71% for a laptop.

These figures are what one might expect, but the growth of the OTT market – highlighted by Netflix recently launching in India, alongside local players like Arre and Alt Digital – coupled with faster mobile broadband services is set to change that picture.

"The OTT explosion in India is happening primarily on the smaller mobile screens," noted Gaurav Gandhi, chief operating officer at Viacom18 Digital Ventures. "Mobile network penetration is higher – and increasingly so – than broadband penetration."

"With telcos launching 4G services and broadband penetration increasing, the availability of price-rationalised infrastructure will happen in the foreseeable future," he told the Business Standard.

Maybank Kim Eng Securities has estimated that India could have as many as 400m 4G subscriptions within the next four years, up from the current figure of 90m, and those could form a significant market for video streaming companies.

But first these businesses will have to overcome a reluctance to pay that the report highlighted among Indian consumers.

Downloading via torrent is popular in India as compared to download through other subscription-based websites, it noted. Propensity to purchase videos, it added, is significantly higher in developed nations (52%) than in India (23%).

Data sourced from Exchange4Media, Business Standard, The Hindu; additional content by Warc staff