Shining a Light on the Indian OTT Market

India blog
Have you ever wondered how OTT operators with large deployments in the cloud are delivering their contents, while facing challenges from scalability to security?
Let me address them here.

By Stephane Le Dreau, SVP Regional GM APAC


As I’m currently preparing for the 2021 edition of APOS India, I wanted to reflect on the landscape of online video in India and think about the challenges it faces in terms of content, piracy, competition, and delivery in such a big country.   Whilst I’m sure the discussions at APOS India will shed some light on these key areas, here are my thoughts on the road ahead.

Despite traditional TV still dominating in India, with broadband still being limited in rural areas, the analyst community still expects significant OTT growth. Not only in terms of business model adoption, with SVOD subscribers estimated to increase to 200M by 2025 (Interview with Mihir Shah, MPA VP Analyst at AVIA's Future of Video in India), but also in terms of broadband penetration with 5G’s commercial roll-out expecting to increase mobile broadband penetration rates by 66% (as highlighted in the latest Regional Trends – Asia Pacific– IABM).

Combined with demand for local content surging (up to 80% of all content consumed is local in emerging countries), this is also generating opportunities for new local OTT players with most of them also producing their own content. It is therefore no surprise that we have seen the rise of some major Indian OTT players such as Disney+Hotstar, that passed 45 million paid subscribers by Q3 2021, but also Zee5 or SonyLiv amongst the other 40 OTT platforms available in India today. This has created strong competition alongside global OTT platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, that are also heavily investing in premium Indian content and sports rights, to drive adoption and stay ahead of the local competition.

Talking about sports rights, the upcoming Cricket World Cup in 2023, that will be held for the first time entirely in India,  should also mark an interesting milestone in terms of business models adoption, as large Internet players like Hotstar are preparing for it, and heavily investing in premium content monetized through AVOD and SVOD. And while SVOD should continue his ascension as predicted by analysts, it will be interesting to see how AVOD will perform during the world cup.

In this seemingly endless race to bring better differentiation against each other’s service, these OTT players are also key partners for Telco operators; bringing deeper vertical integration between content creator, provider, and OTT player to ensure they remain competitive. As a consequence of these broader propositions, scalability becomes another key aspect that needs to be considered.  Here, Airtel are one of the leaders as we recently described in our Case Study, where they have served an astonishing 50-60 million multi-DRM licenses per week to support a variety of consumer devices.

At such a large scale, it’s both easy to understand and difficult to apprehend how scaling and optimizing network delivery is key to ensure quality of service.  This is where edge technology is well known for content delivery, but it can also be leveraged to protect content through solutions such as forensic watermarking - such as NexGuard Streaming on Edge (Factsheet) - offering enhanced scalability alongside being able to trace and fight content piracy.

Finally, to finish with a note on piracy, while content is moving to IP, the barrier to piracy is also getting lower, therefore OTT operators need to take these threats into consideration to implement the right anti-piracy solutions to retain their subscriber. While Forensic watermarking is one powerful technology, operators will also need to take the fight one step further with more proactive anti-piracy solutions if they want to retain their audience and limit content redistribution.

The future looks bright for OTT in India, and I am excited to see what will come out of this year APOS event.  Key themes I’ll be watching are emerging technology, what trends we can expect for the coming year (and beyond), and who are or will be driving the fastest-growing OTT adoption in the country.

I’ll be speaking about the Piracy & the Cloud: Securing Online Video in India at APOS India and I’d be delighted if you can join us. 

Register here.

For more information on NAGRA NexGuard Streaming on Edge, download our fact sheet.