Impact on OTT Platforms due to Increased Demand
While the world continues to live in quarantine, the impact of the novel coronavirus is bringing unprecedented changes in the behaviour and habits of people in terms of media and entertainment consumption, including but not limited to digital or OTT (Over The Top) platforms, television, news, etc. People are consuming more online content even while cooking, exercising, or working from home during these unusual times.
What this means is that the likes of Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Zee5, ALTBalaji and Voot Select will have to up their game. Experts believe that viewership on these platforms could grow further in the coming days, as television channels run out of content. “As these channels have been unable to shoot due to the lockdown, they are running old content. In such a scenario, people will gravitate towards OTT to watch fresh content,” says Paritosh Joshi, media consultant and principal, Provocateur Advisory.
A WPP report on ‘Impact of COVID-19 on consumers & brands’ suggests that the video-streaming platforms have seen over 113 percent rise in the number of average users since the nationwide lockdown. Various video-streaming platforms are looking at the growth in a similar pattern during the pandemic, with the availability of time, undivided attention and disposable spending power.
To cater to this increase in demand, platforms such as Amazon Prime Video and Zee5 have made a few of their shows free to watch. Under its #BeCalmBeEntertained initiative, Zee5 is offering premium content including movies and the first episode of some of its original series for free. Tarun Katial, CEO, Zee5 India, says the platform has witnessed an 80% increase in subscriptions and over 50% growth in time spent recently.
Amazon Prime Video, meanwhile, has made some of the kids’ content on its platform free in India. Viacom18’s Voot Select, the latest entrant in the SVoD space, has reported a spike in subscriber numbers. Ferzad Palia, head, Voot Select, youth, music and English entertainment, Viacom18, says the uptake for the platform has been “almost three-times higher than estimated”.
Consumption hours have also witnessed a shift. While earlier, consumption would remain high between 8 am and 10.30 am, it now remains high till 11.30 am and similarly, in the evening, consumption begins to peak from 6 pm, as opposed to 8 pm, and remains high till midnight.
While we expect consumption to grow further, we want users to practice responsible streaming, in addition to social distancing. With a majority of the Indian workforce now operating from home, sudden spurts could congest networks and cause issues for those working or requiring the Internet for essential services.
Out-of-Home Entertainment at Risk
Out-of-home or outdoor entertainment options like films, events, theme parks, and so on are staring at a prolonged recovery cycle post COVID-19.
This is due to the “risk aversion” that consumers will have towards large public gatherings, especially in COVID-19 hotspots, which includes some major entertainment hubs like Mumbai and Delhi.
The “new normal” of social distancing is expected to result in significantly lower footfalls and ticket sales across multiplexes, event venues, children’s parks, etc.
KPMG also believes that the film box office is headed for a “disaster”. Not only will COVID-19 slow down expansion of theatrical chains, it will also lead to shutting down of several outlets as rental costs start pinching the bottom-line.
Footfalls could take a while (up to 12 weeks) to return to normalcy, according to analysts.
However, on the positive side, the out-of-home industry is likely to see rapid innovation in entertainment delivery models. “There will be an increasing amount of reliance on AI and ML to predict consumer behaviour in these times,” KPMG says.
Online ticketing majors, whose revenues hinge on outdoor events, are trying to adapt to the new normal. BookMyShow, for instance, recently launched Live From HQ, a new series which brings live entertainment to people’s living rooms.
These are live-streamed events across comedy, theatre, spoken word, dance, music, etc, featuring India’s leading artists, bands and performers. The shows can be viewed on Instagram Live, after registrations on the BookMyShow app at a nominal fee.
KPMG's Menon sums up by saying, “The COVID-19 experience is likely to result in a long-term upward shift in the integration of digital technologies into our everyday lives, with India’s ‘digital billion’ trajectory likely to accelerate materially."
The post-pandemic world already looks very different!