OTT viewership up 2X in 2 weeks as Stay At Home becomes order of the day

Video on Demand players elaborate on the numbers and how they are catering to the increase in demand with free subscriptions, enhanced library & low data modes

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Mar 25, 2020 8:49 AM
OTT

The country-wide coronavirus lockdown has spiked content consumption from the confines of homes by several notches. According to Video on Demand players there has been an almost 2X growth in viewership over the last two weeks.

Acknowledging the increase in demand, OTT players are now going the extra mile with supply of fresh content, free subscriptions or quality service in low internet bandwidth.

“In the era of social distancing and limited exposure to the external world, consumers and viewers are turning to forms of digital entertainment,” Ali Hussein, CEO, Eros Now, pointed out. Sharing numbers to support the above, he said: “We have seen an increase of 200% in paid subscribers on a daily basis and App Annie shows a 78% increase in daily traffic on the platform.”

The Video on Demand player has also launched a new global campaign called Eros Now #Staysafe wherein consumers can get a free two-month Eros Now subscription if availed before March 31, 2020.

Establishing the growth in OTT consumption, MX Player has said that it witnessed 7X increase in time spent and engagement across genres over the past week. The player said its DAUs have spiked by over 35%.

The platform has also seen growth in big screen viewership like on Smart TVs. Even its iOS app has seen a surge in downloads and usage, bringing new audiences to the platform. MX Player’s recently launched gaming platform or feature has registered a 3X surge and there has been a 200% spike in consumption of its Live news channel.

In an interesting observation, MX Player has witnessed a significant spike in viewership not just in the Metros but in smaller cities and towns too. Staying indoors has led to many more viewers choosing to experiment with new genres and formats of content.

Even regional players have witnessed a similar trend. Bengali OTT player Hoichoi has recorded a 4X increase in traffic in the last one week. The traffic has been surging 2 to 3 times on a daily basis, says Hoichoi Co-founder Vishnu Mohta. The platform has been adding more titles to their content library to cater to this growing demand.

Elaborating further on the viewership pattern, Mohta said: “Apart from West Bengal, Hoichoi enjoys strong traffic and consumption in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad with Bangalore and Delhi being No. 2 and No. 3 in terms of overall volume of traffic. Internationally, the US and UK contribute a significant amount of traffic with the Middle East, Australia and Canada not being far away. The last week also saw a surge in traffic coming from Europe and Japan. Bangladesh, as a market, continuous to grow every day.”

 The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has asked OTT players, including the likes of YouTube, Netflix and Hotstar, to lower their bandwidth streaming. According to COAI, this will help curb any sudden surge in data usage during the lockdown period.  

Keeping in line with this directive, MX Player, for instance, is working towards reducing bandwidth consumption while ensuring that it does not affect user experience. MX Player’s ‘Data Saver Mode’ is an initiative to reduce the strain of broadband usage on infrastructure across the country. This mode restricts its streaming on mobile devices to a lower resolution and have developed a proprietary advanced compression technique that leverages Artificial Intelligence and Object Recognition. 

“Considering that majority of offices have asked employees to work from home, we understand the impact this will have on the network infrastructure. Internet bandwidth is scarce. At such times, it is key that the wheels of the economy keep running and all activities can be continued with sufficient bandwidth available. Especially at our scale (175 million users), it is important that we play our part in preserving smooth functioning of the internet during this crisis,” said Vivek Jain, COO, MX Player.

Assuring that customer experience won’t be affected, Jain said: “We have decided to double down on our efforts to provide the best customer experience while conserving bandwidth. Collectively, our advancements will reduce MX bandwidth consumption by over 70%.”

With the enforcement of a 21-day lockdown, the OTT numbers are bound to increase further as the citizens will increasingly consume content across genres from the confines of their home.

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