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Binge Watching: Giving Way To A New Set Of Audience

TV still dominates viewership and will continue to do so for some time to come, but OTT is making its presence felt. It remains an evolving category and yet is changing the way India consumes content

Kashmira, a 40 year old housewife from Ahmedabad, just finished watching the first season of Narcos. Ganesh, a medical representative based in Mumbai spends about 4 hours a day watching online video content. Pooja, a bank executive in Delhi does not recall when she last saw her favourite daily soap on TV. All three are part of the growing Indian online video content consumer tribe that is bent on changing the stereotypes around audience and consumption.

Enabled by low data cost, availability of a wide variety of content on Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms and luxury of watching content of their choice at their convenience has changed the way content is being consumed by Indian audiences. Not just what, but also why it’s being consumed.

Experimenting with Content, Genres and Platforms

“I subscribed to the free trial of Netflix for a month because I wanted to see Narcos. Friends from my kitty were discussing the show and I wanted to know what the fuss was about”, says Kashmira. She admits that Narcos is not the kind of show she would normally watch. Her typical content choice is dominated by daily soaps. Narcos was her first brush with the crime genre. And while she has since discontinued her Netflix subscription, she continues to explore the crime genre on Amazon Prime.

What is being witnessed is the increased tendency to sample new content. The trial rates of OTT platforms especially Amazon Prime, Netflix (and Hotstar) is high. A recent  research study shows that trial of Amazon Prime and Netflix stands at 61% and 53% respectively amongst medium to high OTT content viewers.  

Viewers today are more willing to experiment with content and platforms. This phenomenon is true across regions, gender and ages. What we are seeing today is an evolving new age consumer- one who is willing to try new and quality content.

Binging on Content

As a medical representative, Ganesh spends hours outside Physicians’ clinics waiting for a meeting. “As long as I have my mobile phone charged, I can wait for as long as my clients want. I watch everything- movies, soaps, web series. Anything that interests me. When I go home, I still watch on Mobile only as my mother wants to see her shows on TV”, says Ganesh.

As per  a recent  OTT study, about 28% of the audiences watch online content for more than two hours a day. You don’t need to be at home, in front of the TV any more. The mobile phone has taken that infrastructural constraint out of the equation. All you need is a mobile, a data connection and free time. You could be commuting or waiting for someone or in midst of a power cut. It doesn’t matter. Your entertainment needs will be taken care of.

Taking TV out of the home

Pooja loves her daily TV shows. Naginn and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai are her favourite shows  that she would not miss for anything. Yet, she struggles to remember when she last watched these shows on TV. “I prefer watching my shows on my mobile. That way, I don’t have to watch what everyone else is watching. I can watch at my time and convenience. I can pause if I want to. I don’t have a TV in my room, but that does not matter. I have my mobile”, she says.  

Pooja started watching TV shows on mobile during Bigg Boss Season 11. “I downloaded Voot. I started exploring, first on Voot and then on Hotstar. Gradually, I have shifted entirely to watching shows on my mobile”. She is part of a fast growing segment of viewers who come to watch their favourite shows and then discover more content on the platform. More than 70% of the TV audience today actively consume TV shows on various platforms. Many of these then discover originals and start consuming those as well.

TV still dominates viewership and will continue to do so for some time to come, but OTT is making its presence felt. It remains an evolving category and yet is changing the way India consumes content. It brings with it the opportunity for content creators to look beyond the traditional stereotypes of Indian audience audiences and for audiences to demand more quality content than presently available. The rise of OTT is hence powering the rise of an empowered Indian audience.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
television viewership OTT platforms

Monalisa Dani

The author is Founder & Ceo, Pixights

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