Guest Column: Seven big digital viewing trends in India in 2017: Vineet Kanabar, TVF

Social video still accounts for over 75 per cent of time-spent today, with comedy, entertainment and music leading the genre charts. Facebook’s planned move to add the Watch page will only further the duopoly

e4m by Vineet Kanabar
Updated: Dec 29, 2017 8:50 AM

It’s been a big year for video content online in India. Great video has become the dominant currency and those that did not have this capability have either created them or are beginning to succumb to the fast-moving world of digital entertainment. Major moves were made in sports, comedy & entertainment, music and LIVE this year. These seven viewing trends dominated the scene in 2017:

The rise and rise of web series: The new kid on the block format has come of age in 2017. Web series now released to massive viewership and critical acclaim. Inside Edge, Bose, Laakhon Mein Ek, TVF’s Inmates, & Bachelors, What the Folks and many more entertained the audience. Irrfan is going to be in one, Saif is in one, Shah Rukh is making one with Netflix. So, is 2018 going to be the year of the Khans on web-series? The Indian entertainment consumer is no more starved for choice and digital entertainment is chipping away at TV audiences.

Online Video and TV Online: The screen-agnostic viewer is a reality. YouTube reports a doubling of watch-time for YouTube on TV screens, while TV content online has seen a 50 per cent increase. Digital video has replaced primetime TV viewing in many geographies, with weeknights 7 p.m. to 12 p.m. claiming the highest viewership stats across platforms. The term video has become ubiquitous, with the difference between television or mobile video falling fast in consumer and media consciousness.

Being Social: Viewers are straddling the twin ecosystems of social media and OTT. While evolved users have safely ensconced themselves in the walled gardens of Netflix and Amazon Prime, the 4G explosion means Facebook and YouTube have found even more new users. Social video still accounts for over 75 per cent of time-spent today, with comedy, entertainment and music leading the genre charts. Facebook’s planned move to add the Watch page will only further the duopoly.

Short videos found their homes: Outside of the social media giants, eco-systems of short videos have sprouted up, each with significant fandoms and communities. WhatsApp, with 200 million users in India, has driven this phenomenon with its easy interface and sharing. Instagram’s popularity creating micro-influencers, the growing significance of to unearth new talent, Snapchat’s continued relevance to the urban affluent have more than sufficiently mourned the death of Vine in India.

The democratization of LIVE: Gone are the days when LIVE matches were broadcast into people’s homes. The internet has become the medium of choice for LIVE broadcasts, whether it is mass culture events like cricket matches or pop concerts or branded engagements created for a specific audience. Facebook and YouTube’s LIVE features are being used around the country.

Hotstar leads the OTT pack by far: Investing in the kind of content that generates top viewership and consistently improving the product experience has helped Hotstar become one of the finest examples of a homegrown entertainment business. With a something-for-everyone library of content from the parent company, a beefed up Premium catalogue and the development of popular sports IPs, Hotstar has done good on its first-mover advantage. Between being a viable medium for advertisers and a sticky product for consumers, HotStar has fought off close competition from Jio’s entertainment play to come out top.

New creators, new surprises: There are nearly 190 YouTube channels with 1mn+ subscribers. New Facebook video pages have memes and mashups go viral every day. Children are glued to online video as are young Indian adults. Collaborations between creators, emerging new formats and millions of views are revving up the engine for another leap in 2018.

(Vineet Kanabar is the Head of Marketing, TVF)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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