Are you someone who loves to watch TV shows, web-series, and movies at home with family and friends? If yes, then you must be aware of the rising OTT platforms for online streaming. OTT platforms hold a significant share of viewership, and yes these online platforms give us a choice to watch favorite content at our convenience. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, OTT platforms are true companions.
What is an OTT service?
OTT is an acronym for Over-the-top media services that stream videos, movies, series, etc directly to the viewers on their devices, such as phones, tablets, TV through the Internet. The platform is a detour from the existing controller or distributors of content such as cables, broadcast, and satellite television.
Although the supremacy of the US OTT platforms cannot be overlooked, yet other numerous players around the world have established their audiences. According to a recent report, the Indian OTT service market will reach a size of $5 billion by the year 2023. UK OTT platforms likely to have a huge potential for growth from 31.83% in 2016 to 54.23% in 2020. The growth driving factors are –
- The rising popularity of OTT platform and the regional content available
- Smartphones availability and cheap data plans across rural markets
- The likability and availability of content throughout all age groups and gender
Even though the OTT platforms are in their budding stage, the projected growth is overwhelming. In the year 2017, the global OTT market share was valued at $97.43 billion, and the future predictions reveal that in 2025, that ascends to $332.52 billion, growing at CAGR 16.7% from 2018 to 2025.
10 best OTT platforms
OTT platforms were initially started in the United States, Netflix was among the first few. There are many popular OTT service providers in Europe like Wuaki (Spain), Infinity (Italy), Hayu (GB) and HBO Nordic. Big Flix, was the very first Indian OTT platform, launched in 2008 by Reliance Entertainment. Later in 2010, Digivive introduced India’s first OTT mobile app by the name nexGTv, giving excess to both live TV and on-demand content. And it was this app that live-streamed IPL in the year 2013-2014.
With the launch of DittoTV (Zee) and Sony Liv, OTT gained great momentum in the around 2013. The platform streamed all the shows from TV channels such as Star, Sony, Viacom, Zee etc.
We are well versed with OTT platforms and we also have our favorites on each one of the. Let’s dive into the list of 10 best OTT platforms to have a brief understanding of each.
In August 1997, Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings founded Netflix in Scotts Valley, California, USA and later it was launched worldwide.
Netflix offers a variety of original series and movies as well as classic and cult movies released through the year globally, in multiple languages.
- $8.99 – This plan is for single screen Usage, watch it on any device.
- $12.99- You can buy this plan and it gives access to two screens and allows you to watch on any screen, simultaneously.
- $15.99 – It gives access to 4 screens simultaneously. You can cancel the plan you buy at any time if you want to discontinue the service.
Netflix has been quite popular over the years now in USA, Europe and India as well, as it introduces more regional content streaming amazing content and we hope it will continue to do. Europe business, which includes the Africa and Middle East, subscription revenue growth was at 105% over the last 2 years. In April 2020 alone India contributed to 8.9 crore views, making it a top choice for premium OTT platform.
Hotstar OTT platform was launched in the year 2015 by Star India. This OTT service provider showcases a great assortment of Regional and Hollywood series and movies everywhere, anytime.
Hotstar currently has over 300 million monthly active users and the huge number is also due to the platforms’ investment in cricket streaming rights. Another interesting report from 2019 states that Hotstar accounted for a majority of 45.88% market share making it the leading and best OTT platform in India.
On 29th March 2020, Hotstar remarketed itself as Disney+Hotstar, so now the users have access to exclusive Disney+ content as well.
Hotstart provides the most affordable pricing plans, have a look below
- Premium Sevices for Disney+Hotstar – $74.99 yearly
- Premium Sevices for Disney+Hotstar – $9.99 monthly
The content that is not Premium, you can view them for free and will include advertisements.
3. Amazon Prime
Another globally popular OTT platform is Prime Video by Amazon. Having an Amazon Prime membership has a lot of perks apart from captivating series, movies, and originals.
- Free deliveries – be it overnight, release date or deliveries within two hours (address eligibility is important criteria)
- Free Prime Music
- Exclusive discounts
- Instant access to Lightening deals
- Free e-books and magazines
- Free PC games
After its launch, in 2018 there were 7 million paid subscribers in India by the end of March. For India, statistics reveal that in March 2019, Amazon Prime Video had more the 23 million unique visitors, this shows a notable increase from 2018. Amazon Prime reported 112 million U.S. subscribers by the end of 2019. It has estimated 156 million subscribers worldwide.
Subscribe to Amazon Prime
- $119/ year
A 30 days free-trial period is available on signing up.
Another addition to the list of native OTT platform is Zee5, that was launched on 14 February 2018 run by Essel Group through its subsidiary Zee Entertainment Enterprises.
The video content is available in 12 languages and you can select as many languages you want to. You also get access to live TV shows and channels with just a finger tap. The premium subscription removes advertisements and you also get to see and download exclusive content for viewing at your convenience.
Given the COVID 19 situation and during the lockdown, Zee5 subscription grew twofold. Other stats tell us that there was a significant surge in paid viewers and subscriptions by 45% & 80%, respectively. The number of daily active users and downloads has also increased by 33% and the Zee5 app downloads also saw a rise by 45%.
Zee5 subscription plans
- All Access – Watch all hit movies, ZEE5 originals & exclusives, all ALTBalaji Shows, Kids shows, Live TV and TV shows before the telecast.
- $1.35 / month
- $4.00 / 3 months
- $8.00 / 6 months
- $13.35 / 12 months
- Club – Get access to TV shows before the telecast, Select ALT Balaji Shows, Select ZEE5 Originals, Select Movies, Kids, Live TV and Zindagi TV Shows.
- $4.9 / Yearly
You can watch on 5 devices simultaneously.
A very close competitor of Disney+Hotstar is an Indian origin OTT streaming service Voot. It is owned by Viacom 18 and was launched in March 2016.
Voot promises thrilling and attention-grabbing content that is available in regional and international languages. It also offers shows from entertainment channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Colors TV, Comedy Central, and much more. The platform has added subscription led video-on-demand (SVoD) model and it has advertising led video on demand (AVoD) platform too.
Voot pricing plans
Voot Select – for exclusive and premium content, including Voot select Originals, ad-free access to international content, live events, and before TV launch of blockbuster reality shows.
- $1.35 / monthly
- $6.70 / yearly (An Introductory offer, it is priced at $13.35 / yearly)
Balaji Telefilms Ltd released its own OTT platform called ALTBalaji on April 16, 2017. One of the many reasons to watch content on this OTT platform is that it is pocket friendly and apart from buying any pack gives an added advantage of exploring cashback offers.
ALTBalaji offers unlimited originals, premium shows along with music videos, comedy, and other shows that come with a premium subscription. According to the reports, there was an 88% growth in revenue in FY 2020, the direct subscription revenue grows by 100%, and this year (2020) the OTT engaged 8.4 million MAU’s.
Plans for ALTBalaji
- $1.35 for 3 Months
- $4.00 for 12 Months
You can avail exciting offers and cashback on each subscription.
Here is an OTT service provider by Sony Pictures Pvt.Ltd, Sony LIV, released on 22nd January 2013. In the year 2019, it crossed 100 million downloads in Google Play Store. Last year, the OTT platform saw a threefold rise in MAU’s and also recorded 100 downloads per minute, and to add further the total time spent by the grew into 7 times!
Sony LIV offers both entertainment and sports and also includes international and regional content, i.e web-series, movies, shows and much more. It also bought the rights to live-stream cricket matches, which again led to an increase in the subscription.
SonyLiv subscription plans
By paying, you get access to all the original and unique content Sony LIV has in store for you.
- $4.00 / month
- $9.34 for six months
- $13.35 / year
8. Eros Now
Eros International PLC launched their OTT service, Eros Now in the year 2012. You can watch unlimited regional language (available in 10 languages) movies and series and in HD and the originals as well. Not just limited to movies and shows, this OTT platform lets you listen to official soundtracks from the blockbuster Bollywood movies, so there is everything for everyone.
According to Statista in 2019, in India, 40 percent of the viewers spend between three to nine hours per week on Eros Now. In 2018, there were 128 million registered users and 13.0 million paying subscribers all over the globe.
Unlocks access to all the unique content.
- Monthly for $0.70
- Quarterly for $1.00
- Yearly for $5.33
Viu is a Hong Kong based OTT service provider and a subsidiary of PCCW and was launched in October 2015. It provides the newest premium Korean dramas, a variety of other shows, and Asian programs anytime anywhere for free of charge in regional and international languages. There are a number of top-notch options on Viu and the original production of VIU available at a pocket-friendly price.
Although it captivated the attention of many viewers across the nation making a huge fanbase for K-Dramas, given the heavy competition, it was not doing well in comparison to other OTT platforms. In December 2019, Viu suspended all its operations in India. That doesn’t mean you cannot watch the Korean dramas, the app is still available for Android and iOS, and of course, the website has it all for you.
Viu pricing module
With Viu Premium, you can enjoy a variety of exclusive privileges. Download unlimited series for offline streaming, watch the newest shows within eight hours after original telecast and watch episodes at High Definition (HD) or on your TV.
- $0.07 / day
- $4.00 / 6 months
10. Vodafone Play
Vodafone Play is a one-stop video on demand platform for everyone to stream favorite content online; be it Live TV, popular online series, latest movies, or trending music. The app offers access to Shermaroo’s & Lionsgate Play content library, HD quality Live TV channels, news channels, seamless streaming of blockbuster Bollywood and Hollywood movies.
This OTT service is available to all active Vodafone subscribers who have a valid and current recharge pack. The app is available in Hindi, English, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada, a total of 9 languages.
Vodafone Play plans
- Vodafone Play is available to all RED customers free of charge for the 12 months.
- The rates for SuperPlans range from $2.5 to $11.00.
The last few years have seen a significant rise in the popularity of the OTT platforms in world, and with the onset of 2020, the catalyst being the COVID 19 circumstances have definitely increased the affinity towards the same. The growth that was projected for 2021-2022, took place in 2020 itself with a 55% rise in India’s overall streaming traffic. The growth is sufficient to make up for any loss if the curve flattens after COVID 19.
The OTT platforms are becoming major platforms for premiering the new movies, new and fresh movies delivered right at your homes every Friday, without having to go anywhere! These streaming services are dedicated to user experience and quality content and will definitely give TV channels a run for their money.
The options for what you can watch and how much you can watch is never-ending and unlimited. We would like to mention that all of the above OTT platforms have their dedicated apps that are available on both Android and iOS platforms and can be accessed on any device with the internet and on TV. So say bye to FOMO, because you have all the information you need regarding OTT platforms, go ahead, binge watch and we won’t judge!
Comment below your favorite OTT platform and series or movies you loved watching on them, and if you have suggestions for the above list, feel free to mention them.