MUMBAI: Online video consumption in India has grown by almost five times in just the past year, with long-form video of more than 20 minutes duration accounting for a full 96% of content, according to viewing activity on Hotstar.

The digital and mobile entertainment platform, which launched only three years ago, provided a comprehensive breakdown of the viewing figures it recorded over the past year for its India Watch Report 2018.

Hotstar said that recent developments, most notably that the vast majority of all usage is now focused on long-form video, marks an inflexion point in India.

Specifically, the move to long-form contrasts with the early years of online video consumption in India, which were characterised by short-form consumption from users fearful of data charges.

But with data becoming more affordable, Hotstar reported that there has been significant growth in smaller cities with populations of 100,000 to one million, as well as new opportunities for women.

According to the findings, major metropolitan cities saw video consumption rise 3.5 times, whereas smaller cities of less than one million (10 lakh) increased 4.3 times.

And many cities like Moradabad (22X), Allahabad (13X), Hubli (12X) and Sonipat (12X) are making big leaps – even above the overall national index growth.

“The biggest change has been how consumers are responding to the explosion in access to affordable data. Three years ago, most new data users would start with messaging, do text search, move on to social platforms and a few brave ones would watch video on the mobile network, said Ajit Mohan, CEO of Hotstar.

“This pyramid has been completely inverted. In a world that does not fear data charges, video is very often the first port of call for new data users. Familiar stories, whether TV shows, movies or sports, unconstrained by any language limitation, are acting as powerful triggers to light up their smartphones and their data connections.”

Elsewhere, the report revealed that streamers of Hotstar content do not follow stereotypical consumption habits. For example, 26% of viewers of Game of Thrones in 2017 also watched Hindi TV shows, while 24% of modern family viewers watched cricket.

And the Hindi-language drama, “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai”, was the most watched TV show on Hotstar last year, while Reliance Jio’s “Dhan Dhana Dhan” was the most watched ad.

Sourced from Hotstar; additional content by WARC staff