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Coronavirus: OTT viewership spikes as more people stay home and binge-watch

A senior official of an Indian OTT platform said that as people spend more time at home due to 'social distancing', they have more time to spend watching video content online

Kanishka Gupta  |  New Delhi 

With more and more promoting work-from-home culture due to the rapid spread of (Covid-19), a 20 per cent increase in viewership across several over-the-top (OTT) platforms has been observed.

No doubt, metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are the major contributors.

In this edition of podcast we will talk about a spike in viewership across several amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

A senior official of an Indian OTT platform said that as people spend more time at home due to 'social distancing', they have more time to spend watching video content online. “The usual watch time in mornings used to be while travelling, and therefore on phones. Now, we are witnessing a surge in content being watched on television," the official said.

Archana Anand, chief business officer of Global, told Business Standard “Globally, on our platform, we have observed a surge of 6 per cent in viewership across all content categories. Looking at key markets, Canada has witnessed highest spike in viewership at 13 per cent followed by West Asia at 10 per cent and APAC regions 8-10 per cent.”

After observed a significant jump in consumption on connected devices, a channel spokesperson said that this could be attributed to people working from home in the past week.

In fact, an Indian OTT platform, which did not wish to be quoted said it had seen a rise in people watching older episodes of programmes. A senior official said, “There has been a 15-20 per cent rise in OTT viewing, given people now have little choice.

Platforms also expect new viewers to join during this period, and once normalcy is restored, they will continue to consume videos online.

In view of this, Neeraj Roy, founder and chief executive officer, Hungama Digital Media, said, “In order to ensure their safety, most corporates have either already allowed their employees to work from home or are in the process of doing so. We have seen over 20 per cent jump in streaming numbers on Hungama Play between March 1 and March 16. These numbers are expected to rise as Indians start practising social distancing and turn to the digital medium to make up for lack of social interactions.”

Apart from an increase in streaming numbers, Hungama has also noticed a shift in the peak consumption hours. With office commute coming to a halt, the consumption which was generally high between 8 am and 10.30 am now extends until 11.30 am.

Similarly, the evening peak consumption period now starts at 6 pm, as opposed to 8 pm, and remains high until midnight.

Roy also said that the company had also observed a rise in video consumption between 1 pm and 3 pm, which are normally lunch hours.

Viacom18’s Voot’s subscription-led platform Voot Select, which was launched in the beginning of this month, has also observed a significant increase in demand for subscription.

Commenting on the development, Ferzad Palia, head of Voot Select, youth, music and english entertainment of Viacom18 said, “What we would have expected to do in terms of number of subscribers in 60 days, we have already done in the first 10 days.”

What about television channels, then?

To know more, listen to this podcast

First Published: Thu, March 19 2020. 13:08 IST