The Indian SVoD audience watches content in 4.6 languages on an average
The content in four South Indian languages has a large audience outside their native states
The propensity to watch content in languages other than native languages is not very high for AVoD audience
India’s digital video audience stood at 353.2 Mn users between November 2021-March 2022, a report by media consulting firm Ormax Media said, adding that despite subscription-based video on demand (SVoD) picking up in the last two years, it still lags behind its advertising counterpart.
The report, The Ormax OTT Audience Report: 2022, said that only 31% of India’s digital video audience is paying users, while the remaining 69% is advertising based video-on-demand (AVoD) audience.
The SVoD platforms earn revenue primarily through subscriptions sold to users, and usually don’t display ads on the platform. On the other hand, AVoD platforms rely on advertising revenue as they offer content without any paywall.
Unsurprisingly, the audience is watching content across multiple languages, thanks to dubbing and availability of subtitles, especially on SVoD over-the-top (OTT) platforms. The Indian SVoD audience watches content in 4.6 languages on an average, the report added.
The content in four South Indian languages has a large audience outside their native states. While 88% Malayalam content viewers are from outside Kerala, 82% of Tamil content viewers are from outside Tamil Nadu.
However, the propensity to watch content in languages other than native languages is not very high for AVoD audiences, primarily because of the low presence of multi-language dubbing on those streaming services.
“Streaming is a fast-growing category in India, and hence, it is important for content creators and marketers to constantly upgrade their understanding of the audiences, their taste, their viewing habits, and their viewing triggers,” Shailesh Kapoor, founder and CEO of Ormax Media, said.
The Indian audience is also consuming content in English and other foreign languages, including Korean. 65% SVoD audience and 43% AVoD audience in urban India watches English language content, though more than half of them prefer to watch it in an Indian language via dubbing.
“A lot of AVoD content is being made in India today with an SVoD lens. However, this report reveals that the formats and genres preferred by SVoD and AVoD audiences are significantly different from each other,” Kapoor added.
As the majority of the Indian audience is still not very keen to pay for content, most of the OTT players in India such as ZEE5, Voot, Disney+Hotstar, SonyLIV are following a hybrid model of business. There are a very few pure-play subscription based OTT platforms in the Indian market, like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.
With limited entertainment options due to closure of theatres amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the OTT platforms saw a massive growth in viewership and engagement. However, with the impact of the pandemic receding and life going back to normal, the OTT viewership growth has started slowing down.
Global streaming giant Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in the January-March quarter. Among homegrown OTT platforms, ALTBalaji also sold 3.88 Mn direct subscriptions in FY22, as compared to 4.7 Mn subscriptions sold in the previous year.
However, OTT platforms are keeping the content pipeline alive to retain users. Disney+Hotstar is currently working on 100 original shows, while Amazon Prime Video also announced over 40 new titles recently.