Future of OTT space and how the pandemic has redefined it

OTT has gained huge popularity in India in a short period of time and has created a massive fan base. With consumer lifestyles changing, access to numerous viewing devices has permitted viewing content from any place in the world, at any time.

A usual weekend without binge watching your favourite web series seems as dull as having your favourite khichdi but without aachar and papad. New content in the digital space drops as fast as the speed of light. We internalise the dialogues, start believing in the protagonist’s idea of life and care for our favourite character more than we ever cared about our dark circles induced by non-stop streaming. Binge watching is not just a one night practice anymore, it has become a lifestyle.

As the country followed the lockdown guidelines rigorously to avoid the spread of the virus, people mostly stayed indoors and adopted a work from home culture. This freed up more time and data for them to explore other forms of entertainment and information.

The media and entertainment industry, like everything else that took a 180 degree turn overnight when the pandemic hit the globe in 2020, rounded a curve that it is unlikely to return to normal.

Over-The-Top (OTT) has gained a huge popularity in India in a short period of time and created a massive fan base among the millennials, of course. This is one of the main reasons due to which I decided to start a regional language OTT platform.

Increase in subscribers

Most OTT platforms witnessed an extraordinary increase in subscribers as a result of people being forced to stay at home for months. Furthermore, because COVID-19 rules and lockout laws made it impossible for films to be physically released in theatres, big production houses moved to OTT platforms for their new releases.

The ‘anywhere, anytime watching’ concept of OTT platforms was exactly what the audience was longing for, and in my opinion, subscribing to various platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, etc. Even infotainment apps like ‘LetsUpp' saw a big increase in its subscription.

Change in methods of content consumption

Most viewers worldwide, regardless of their age or socio-economic position, consume content on several screens. People all over the world started craving the shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Crown, Sacred Games, Bard Of Blood, Mindhunter, Stranger Things, Fleabag, When They See Us, Good Omens, Made In Heaven, Sex Education, Queer Eye, Delhi Crime, and many similar shows that release every day with a view to alter prejudices existing in the society, thanks to the streaming platforms.

Consumer lifestyles are changing, and access to numerous viewing devices has permitted viewing content from any place in the world, at any time. Essentially, humans have developed their own methods of content consumption.

Multitude of fresh perspective

In comparison to cable-operated television networks, the platforms offered the ability to play and pause content as desired, as well as choose what and when to view it. Considering the daily soaps that still run on the TV screens of hundreds of Indian families, certain stereotypes have been ingrained into the minds of the consumers. OTT content, on the contrary, has multitudes of fresh perspectives. That is the major reason for viewers shifting to digital space.

Rise in women-led shows

Women-oriented shows have been massively encouraged on OTT platforms, and most of them have succeeded in breaking the pre-defined gender roles. In the last year, the platform has created and promoted more women-centric content than mainstream cinema has in the past five years. 

The lack of a censorship board for digital content in India has fuelled innovation, and the scope of creativity has widened to a great extent. To keep audiences interested and their imagination alive, I believe that all streaming content should ideally provide viewers with complete disclosures of its contents, allowing them to make their own decisions.

In recent years, distributed, OTT platforms and smart TV penetration had already begun to alter how the world consumes content, particularly entertainment. The epidemic, as well as the ensuing lockdowns, hastened the process significantly.

The upcoming decade in this arena will most probably belong to not only those with the best original show or film, but also the new-fangled technology, analytics, and user-friendly features. In the long run, the streaming battle will eventually empower the content consumers and revolutionise how they consume content.

OTT platforms will continue to challenge the status quo and provide new kinds of entertainment. But, the question is, how are you responding to it?

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)