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Regional Diversification Of OTT Services

Indian language internet users have surpassed the English internet users. This has further initiated entrepreneurs to expand the legacy of Over-the-top services towards regional and local sectors

Photo Credit : Shutterstock


India is known to be influenced by the West. More than once has India overtaken the West in trends introduced by the developed countries. Consequently, with the focus on ‘Digital India’, India is witnessing a momentum that is titling towards engaging and engrossing each and every individual towards the digital platform.  

According to “Indian languages – Defining India’s Internet 2017” study by KPMG and Google, the Indian language internet users have surpassed the English internet users. The Indian language user grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 14 per cent between 2011 and 2016 to reach 234 million users at the end of internet users.

Witnessing this growth pattern, many media platforms have decided to go local. After the success of the Marathi web-series, YOLO, SonyLiv introduced a Gujarati web series and is now planning to diverge into regional short films. Similarly, Ekta Kapoor’s ALTBalaji is expanding by introducing 32 regional shows in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali and Telugu.

Tamil, Hindi and Kannada are among the top languages that are accessed by the internet users. Hindi internet user base is likely to outgrow English user base by 2021.

The Indian language internet user base is growing at an annual rate of 18 per cent to reach 536 million by 2021 compared to English internet user base growing at 3 per cent to reach 199 million. The language internet users are expected to account for nearly 75 per cent of India’s internet user base by 2021, according to the study.

Digital platforms are now also expanding their territory by dubbing Hindi and English shows into various languages. As 176 new million smartphone users are expected in the next 5 years, these platforms are gaining momentum at a fast pace. Subsequently, as the disposable income of individuals is expected to rise by 55 per cent by 2020, the sale of smartphones is also expected to rise further adding to the viewers.

As the regional digital entertainment is grabbing eyeballs, there has been a substantial rise in the regional advertisements over digital OTT services. Online is expected to be the largest platform for digital advertisements in local languages in the next five years.

“Today, close to 90 per cent of the Indian language internet users prefer to respond to digital advertisements in their regional languages as they perceive regional language content online to be more reliable compared to English.

Digital ads are expected to grow at 31 percent to reach 4.4 billion dollars by 2021. The share of digital ads in local languages is expected to rise from 5 per cent to about 35 per cent by 2021,” according to the study.

The investment in digital channels supporting Indian languages by consumer products, automotive and financial services companies is expected to rise over the near future.

As the government is implementing the scheme of Digital India full-force, the digital literacy is no longer limited to the urban sectors. There has been a wide-scale penetration of digital operations pertaining to payments, news gathering, e-governance, entertainment in the rural areas as well. The government led literacy drive aims to reach 60 million rural households by March 2019.

The structured investment into digital platforms providing video-on-demand (VoD) has undisputedly digressed the channel of communication. The digital disrupt has notably turned advantageous for many as it has reached out to a large number of people with the colloquial appeal at a quick pace. But there are yet many more stones left to be unturned in this new path of communication.

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OTT Services digital india google internet