Battle for Indian VoD market: Netflix, Amazon Prime and YuppTV are waking up domestic players Hotstar and Sony Liv

International players like Netflix, Amazon Prime and YuppTV are making early in-roads with different strategies to capture the Indian video on demand (VoD) market, while domestic players such as Hotstar and Sony Liv are following suit.

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The era of video on demand (VoD) is rapidly gripping the Indian entertainment industry by virtue of the increase in both international and domestic over-the-top (OTT) players, says data and analytics company GlobalData, adding that International players like , Amazon Prime and YuppTV are making early in-roads with different strategies to capture the Indian market, while domestic players such as and are following suit.

The digital media frenzy and the popularity of these players is a testimony that digital video content is going to follow global trends and change the face of video-viewing in India. Some factors such as 4G connectivity, broadband efficiency and digitization make India a preferred destination for global OTT players to look for growth opportunities and thrive in the sub-continent.

A recent GlobalData forecast found that in Asia-Pacific, South Korea and Hong Kong lead the Pay-TV household penetration rates with 159% and 104% respectively. In comparison, India has a low penetration rate of 67%, but is expected to improve as it has a vast untapped market that is still waiting to be captured.

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Haseeb Ahmed, Technology Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Clearly, early entrants in the VoD space can gain an edge over their competitors in India. International players like Netflix, Amazon Prime and YuppTV are making early in-roads with different strategies to capture the Indian market, while domestic players such as Hotstar and Sony Liv are following suit.

“For instance, Netflix is contemplating tie-ups with Indian cable operators to integrate Netflix with cable set-top boxes to offer a smart TV-like experience to consumers without smart TVs. Furthermore, the recent introduction of high-on-features, low-on-cost televisions into India, primarily from Xiaomi, may prove a disruptive force in this market.”

Indeed, the competition is becoming even fiercer with a variety of players such as Vu, Xiaomi, Airtel TV and ACT Fibernet vying for a larger pie of the Indian VoD market.

“Meeting the needs of a wide variety of price-sensitive customers surely comes across as a challenge for these OTT players, but they are willing to leave no stone unturned to attract consumers,” he adds.

One such effort is to widen the scope of their digital content by providing regional content alongside international content that suits consumers from metropolitan, tier-1 or tier-2 cities. Additionally, where Netflix only offers VoD at a subscription cost, Amazon’s Prime membership is multi-dimensional, providing a range of digital entertainment services alongside benefits such as free and speedy delivery on retail purchases, giving consumers more reasons to sign up and thereby increasing Amazon’s VoD penetration.

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“Seamless accesses to services, regional content alongside global content, and value for money are some of the factors customers are looking for in a digital content provider. Players who can successfully tick all the boxes stand a good chance of capturing the bulk of Indian market,” says Ahmed.

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