How does OTT's Big 5 stack up in terms of audience base?

India's top OTT platforms have seen a surge in users on the back of original content, affordable 4G data and proliferation of smartphones In the Covid-induced lockdown

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Jul 28, 2021 8:55 AM  | 8 min read
OTT big 5

Leading over the top (OTT) platforms like Disney+ Hotstar, SonyLIV, Voot, ZEE5 and MX Player have attained significant scale and size on the back of volume as well as variety of content. The affordability of 4G data along with the proliferation of smartphones has provided an additional screen to content companies to engage with viewers. The Covid-19 induced lockdown has also helped OTT players to go truly mainstream.

exchange4media has collated audience data of the big five OTT platforms to map the viewer profile on each platform. The information is based on the sales deck of these OTT platforms which has been sourced from the industry.

Barring MX Player, the other four OTT platforms get a bulk of audience and viewership from top cities. However, these platforms are also adding new audiences from non-metro cities. The metro audiences coupled with new audiences from semi-urban and rural areas have helped the OTT platforms to scale up big time.

The audience profile is also dictated by the kind of content that is offered by the platform. Disney+ Hotstar and SonyLIV are male-skewed due to the presence of live sports whereas ZEE5 and Voot have more female audiences on the platform due to dependence on drama and movies.

A look at the audience profile of each platform:

Disney+ Hotstar

The Star India-owned platform claims to receive 192 million monthly active users (MAUs) for its entertainment content. In sports, the platform had 260 million MAUs during IPL. It claims to have 26 million subscribers, the highest in India.
As per the latest data, Disney+ Hotstar had 34.67 million paid subscribers in Q2 for the quarter ended 3 April compared to 28.47 million in Q1. The platform, also available in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, has claimed that it has 90% penetration in the OTT paid subscriber.

Disney+ Hotstar entertainment users spend 45 minutes on the platform every day. The platform has a 50% primary screen viewership. It has 100+ targeting cohorts besides innovative ad formats.

As far as sports is concerned, Disney+ Hotstar has significant reach aggregation within the digital universe with 65% of all OTT users having accessed the platform during IPL ‘20 (Wk 1). It has 25 targeting cohorts on live sports across geo & affluence. Some ad formats on live sports include branded cards, social feed, and squeeze ups.

Disney+ Hotstar claims to have 65% reach among TV Urban (ALL ADULTS 15+) population besides significant reach in regional markets. States like Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala contribute 40% of the total Watch Time on the platform.

The platform's primary audience is driven by the younger users in urban markets. It has a male skew thanks to a large live sports portfolio. The male and female ratio stands at 65:35. The platform gets 95% of consumption from mobile with the remaining 5% coming from desktop. In terms of language, Hindi (51%), Tamil (17%) and Telugu (11%) are the top language markets. The 18-34 age group is the biggest audience set on the platform. A large chunk of the audience comes from the top 10 metros and 1 mn+ towns.

The platform noted that 80% of VIP consumers are in the 25+ Age bucket vs 60% on Non-VIP. Disney+ Hotstar VIP subscription plan is priced at Rs 399 per year. 40% of VIP consumers are Female vs 35% on Non-VIP. It also said that an average VIP consumer has a 50% higher watch time/day on the platform at 68 minutes. Likewise, 40% of VIP consumers watch over 1 hour of content per day. The Top 8 metros constitute 80% of overall VIP consumers.


Media conglomerate ZEEL-owned ZEE5 claims to have 79+ million MAUs, 550+ million monthly video views and 100+ million downloads, as per internal analytics for March 2021. In 2020, the platform saw a 1.4X increase in app installs, 1.3X growth in engagement, and 3X growth in viewership on connected devices compared to 2019.

In terms of audiences, the platform has a balanced gender split with 48% male and 52% female audiences. More than 80% of users are youth with 18-24 (44%) and 25-34 (37%) being the dominant age groups. The 35+ age-group comprises 19% of the platform's audience base.

60% of ZEE5 users come from HSM while South has a 33% contribution. The Top 8 cities (Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad) have a 48% user contribution. Over 80% of ZEE5 users come from the Top 50 cities. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh + Telangana, and Delhi are the biggest markets for ZEE5.

Almost 81% of content consumption happens on App+Desktop followed by Connected TV at 12% and KaiOS operating system at 7%. 56% of the audience consume content on ZEE5 through 4G internet while 42% of audiences are connected to broadband, which is ideal for long format video content viewing. A mere 2% consumption comes from 2G/3G users.

ZEE5 claims that it has high overlap with premium OTT players like Netflix (26%) and Amazon Prime Video (38%) while minimal overlap with SonyLIV (20%), Voot (14%), and MX Player (4%).

The platform has 200,000+ hours of content across 12 languages besides 1000+ hours of international dubbed content and 120+ originals across seven languages. It had 770+ established and emerging brands advertising on the platform in 2020.

Almost 50% viewership comes from regional language content like Telugu, Marathi, Kannada, Tamil, and Bengali. HSM contributes 55% to the overall content consumption. ZEE5 has built different taste clusters like news, movies, reality, music, fiction/drama, and comedy to enable specific audience targeting.


Viacom18-owned Voot claims to be the second biggest AVOD platform with 100 million MAUs and 43 minutes of average Time Spent Viewing (TSV). The platform's content offering spans broadcast, digital, films and live events. It has distribution tie-ups with Jio TV, Airtel Xstream, Ola Play, Fire TV Stick, YouTube, Flipkart, MX Player, Android TV, MI TV, One Plus TV, and Samsung Smart TV.

The platform said that its viewership is strong in metros and affluent states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, and Gujarat. 40% of its audience resides in Tier 1 cities while 45% audience comes from Tier 2 cities. The contribution of Tier 3 cities to Voot's audience base in 15%.

Like ZEE5, Voot also claims to have a balanced gender split in 55:45 ratio in favour of female audience. The platform has seen 1.6X growth in male audience between July and December 2020. Almost 41% of the audience comes from the 15-24 age group followed by the 35+ age group (31%) and the 25-34 age group (27%).

The platform gets 12,000+ hours of new network content per year. As many as 50,000+ clips are created as part of Voot Exclusives. Its content offering also includes 17+ originals and 16 live news feeds. The platform also boast of the biggest library of digital extensions in the Indian OTT space. The digital show extensions get 200+ million monthly views.

Voot also has a propriety ad tech tool Voot Mavaric which enriches audience profiles for sharp targeting. It has also enabled full programmatic suite.


Owned by Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), SonyLIV has seen a massive upward momentum in FY21 in downloads, MAUs, time spent and video views on the back of original shows like Scam 1992. In FY21, the SonyLIV had seen 100 million new downloads to take the total downloads to 350+ million from 250+ million in FY20.

The MAUs jumped from 130 million to 200+ million+ in FY21. Total time spent saw a 25% jump to 75 minutes in FY21 from 60 minutes in FY20. Video views almost doubled to 4+ billion from 2 billion. SonyLIV's content offering includes TV shows, digital originals, kids, live channels, movies, live sports, and Hollywood besides gaming and interactivity.

The app has a presence across platforms and devices like Jio TV, Jio Fiber, Airtel XStream, Airtel Internet TV, Android TV, Apple TV+, LG Smart TV, One Plus TV, and Samsung Smart TV.

SonyLIV noted that third Party DMPs like Lotame and Zeotap source data from telecom operators and similar enterprises, and they use raw in-app data from heavy mobile users to build powerful interest segments. This data is married with SonyLIV Users and further used for Audience Targeting. Some sample cohorts include Mutual Fund holders/ ARPU; Insurance, Income, HNI; Stock Market; Luxury shoppers; Health & Fitness; Car owners; and International roamers.

The platform also allows audience targeting on the basis of geography, interest, demographic, content genre, carrier and data usage.

MX Player

As per May 2020 data, Times Internet-owned MX Player had 371 million app installs and 175 million MAUs with time spent of 42 minutes per day. At 100 million MAUs, the platform is skewed towards non-metro markets. The metro markets contribute 75 million MAUs. North is the biggest market for the platform with 39% share of MAUs followed by East (22%), South (22%), and West (17%).

Post-Covid, the platform's DAU grew 120% while Time Spent/User and daily engagement was up 87% and 132% respectively. MX Player also noted that it has a unique user base which is not available on other OTT platforms.

Besides 25+ MX Originals, the platform has strong content partnerships with Voot, Sony Pictures Networks India, Sun NXT, Epic TV, TVF, Arre, hoichoi, and Hungama. The content offering is spread across TV shows, web series, movies, sports, and news.

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