Even as television made its way deeper into India, over-the-top platform Hotstar in 2017 saw a significant surge in consumption of its content in non-metro towns and cities, specifically those with populations between 100,000 and one million.
According to Hotstar’s India Watch Report 2017, the platform’s watch time (minutes spent on the service) in small cities during the year grew 4.3 times over 2016. By comparison, cities with more than one million people saw 4.1-time growth and metros 3.5 times.
Many cities like Moradabad (22 times), Allahabad (13 times), Hubli (12 times) and Sonepat (12 times) showed impressive growth. Among states, Jammu & Kashmir led the pack, with 8.3-time growth, followed by Sikkim (7 times) and Assam (6.5 times).
While the consumption base for metros would be higher, the significant growth shown my small cities could also be attributed to the single TV household phenomenon and the Digital India push. India, beyond the metros, still consists mainly of households that have only one TV each, so many of these households have adapted the second screen – mobile, laptop or tablet – for individual viewing. In case of J&K and Assam, the higher levels of media darkness (print, radio and television) due to political reasons might have played an important factor in the rise of OTT as the preferred medium for media and entertainment consumption.
While the watch time across audiences grew in 2017, women in small cities seemed to be coming online faster than in the metros and bigger cities. Women from New Barrackpore (5 times), Siliguri (6.5 times), Kanchipuram (5 times) and Ranchi (4.7 times) are a step ahead of their peers from larger cities in consumption growth. Metros and cities with populations of over 1 million showed two times growth (each) in consumption on Hotstar by female audiences, while the areas with under one million population saw three times more women consuming Hotstar content.
Also, Hotstar was the most downloaded app on Android’s Play Store in 2017. It clocked a total of 170 million downloads during the year (including non-Play Store downloads). The report claims that the app saw 325 downloads a minute last year, more than the number of babies born in the country per minute. Data consumption by Hotstar users was almost double the average consumption in 2017. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, an average Indian consumed 1.6 GB data per month in 2017. Engaged Hotstar users (those using Hotstar at least twice a week), consumed 3GB data on a monthly basis, according to Hotstar data.