KalaGato analyses OTT media landscape: MX Player, ALTBalaji show robust growth in user base

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KalaGato, the Big-Data Intelligence and Audience Insights Platform with a panel size of 3 million-plus users analyses the Opportunity & Crisis in OTT Media. Never let a good crisis go to waste? That was certainly true for the for the OTT industry.

MX: the biggest player?

MX Player is providing “everytainment” for literally everyone! Charting an enviable path, MX player has risen to the top of the numbers game leaving established players behind.

Their strategy of focusing on distribution (converting the captive audience of the original playback MX platform, to video streaming) as well as free content (AVOD), has paid off! Moreover, being a multi-modal entertainment platform bringing together video content, music, and gaming is working for them — clocking an average Monthly Active User base of ~76%, on a massive base.

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Can Netflix chill?

While Netflix is closing in on Amazon Prime when it comes to Reach, active usage continues to be significantly lower — good to have, but not enough “regular” content for most users? (Average MAU’s of 24%)

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Having said that, the ones who do engage with Netflix are true blue fans, spending nearly an hour a day on the platform (a category stand out by far — the rest of the players average around ~35-40 minutes a day)

ALTBalaji: the ‘top’ in Over The Top?

ALTBalaji may look like the laggard on all counts, but this has been the one OTT platform to show robust growth on all metrics even after the lockdown demand withered. So much so that the tail (ALTBalaji) may soon wag the dog (Balaji Telefilms) — the platform’s revenues grew significantly during the last quarter of 2020.

At Rs 300 per year, ALTBalaji is arguably the cheapest way to get on the OTT bandwagon, with access to Balaji Telefilms’s large library of popular movies and homegrown shows.

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Way forward: A Large and Growing Pie

2020 started off with Disney-HotStar the clear leader across metrics, but with MX Player snapping on its heels. This while the two global giants — Netflix and Amazon Prime Video – battle it out. What’s clear through the growth of MX Player and ALTBalaji is that freebies (Netflix Streamfest) and one-off hits (Mirzapur S2 / Scam 1992) are not the only way to grow.

There’s room for everyone…and more

As per PwC’s ‘Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2020–2024’, “India holds the most potential of any market in the world and its breakneck rate of growth will see total OTT video revenue overtake South Korea, Germany and Australia to jump to be the sixth-largest market in 2024.”. Growing at a CAGR of 28.6% over the next four years to touch revenues of $2.9 billion, OTT Video is literally the hottest sector out there.

The Spectre of Regulation

Last week the Indian government announced new guidelines for OTT video streaming platforms which impose 2-tier self-regulation on them besides an “oversight mechanism” by the government.

According to the new rules, the OTT player will appoint a grievance redressal officer based in India who needs to act upon a complaint within 15 days. The second tier will comprise a six-member self-regulatory body of the streaming platforms headed by a retired Supreme Court or high court judge. Third, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry will establish an inter-departmental committee for hearing grievances. Simple right?

While the jury is still out on how this first brush with “oversight” will work out…my sense is that despite the unintended or intended consequences on creativity — growth will continue unabated. In a content starved country with nearly 500 million (and growing) internet connected smartphones users — I suspect people may not notice any change at all.

Your thoughts, please