The world across, Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms have gained immense popularity. The audiences have appreciated the concept, and look forward to quality content on them. BigFLIX was the first dependent Indian OTT platform, which was launched by Reliance Entertainment in 2008. 12 years down the line, we notice immense growth in the OTT industry. Various other apps and platforms have ventured into it, some of them being – Netflix (introduced in 2016 in India), Amazon Prime, Hotstar, SonyLiv, Voot, ALT Balaji. The growth can be credited to various factors.
OTT platforms are easily accessible to the audience. The increasing penetration of internet services has facilitated this easy accessibility more than anything else. This has helped to explode the consumption of digital content in India. Data consumption is what is needed, and each telecom service provider is ready to offer a cheaper and better data plan to defeat its competitor.
Unlike the traditional forms of media which were restricted to radio and television, OTT platforms offer services on various devices. The technology foundation that backs this industry is constantly evolving. Smartphones, tablets, and many more connected devices have grown at a significant rate. Not just data, these devices also come in affordable to luxurious price ranges. Players in the market attract customers with impressive discounts and premium plans of OTT platforms, on the purchase of a device. This is a double-win situation for any OTT platform being promoted in such schemes. More business is expected here since the younger audience spends more time on digital rather than the old, traditional forms of entertainment and media.
OTT platforms break the unsaid monopoly of channels which is often complained about in the television industry. More apps are entering the market. As the number of these platforms increase, so does the content on them. Some of their shows and originally released movies are extremely unconventional. They give us a break from the mainstream media and give way to fresh ideas and concepts.
The storylines are very different, and topics that have never possibly been touched in our Bollywood movies and shows, are discussed. Bulbbul on Netflix and Paatal Lok on Amazon Prime have gained the entire cast and crew immense applause from the audiences. Nepotism and the hatred towards it have been a hot topic for debate in the last few weeks. It is said that since Bollywood is run by the who’s who, survival without a godfather is very difficult.
OTT platforms come as a respite, and a hope of justice, as the shows and movies give space for new talents to prove their metal. There are so many underrated actors and actresses, who have not gotten their due credit and recognition. Pankaj Tripathi, Richa Chaddha, Manoj Bajpayee, Shweta Tripathi (to name just a few from the many) have thankfully been getting the appreciation they are worthy of. The shows and movies of these platforms are raved upon on social media.
A commendable point here is that regional content is made available too. For instance, Hoichoi offers a lot of original shows and movies in Bengali. So we know, the OTT platforms are proving to be a good fit for all sections of the audience. Nobody, but the consumers are the deal breakers or deal makers of how well they do.
With a plethora of new genres to offer, the future OTT platforms look fresh and promising. The consumers are the boss, they are homebound and they want fine content for their entertainment. An intuitive understanding of the liking and taste of the consumers is needed. The auto-app recommendations play a huge role in what the audience is going to watch. The binge-watchers and cravers of new concepts have accepted these platforms welcomingly.
The change of habits that the COVID-19 pandemic forced upon us, has helped in spiking subscriptions of these platforms. From the looks of it, what is definite is, that OTT platforms are here to stay. And it is a possibility, with an optimistic future and business ahead, people may entirely shift from cinema halls to these digital platforms. Though they deprive the viewers of a ‘community-watching’ experience, yet they guarantee more comfort and safety. ‘Netflix & Chill’ is now more than just a phrase. It is an emotion for so many.