Indians Prefer Regional Content on OTT Platforms: MICA Report

Indians Prefer Regional Content on  OTT Platforms: MICA Report

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*The Indian OTT Platforms report states that television content is being consumed the most on platforms like YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, etc* 

*Time spent on Video streaming apps globally went up 140% in 2018 vs 2016 in countries like Australia, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand

*For India, the highest consumed platform is YouTube followed by Amazon Prime and the three Indian platforms HotStar, JioCinema and Voot. YouTube has its monopoly across different markets


Indians prefer regional content on Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms, revealed the second edition of the Indian OTT Platforms report 2019, released by MICA Ahmedabad. The report which has been released in association with Ahmedabad-based startup Communication Crafts has highlighted that the time spent on video streaming apps globally went up 140% in 2019 in countries like India, Australia, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand.


The report, which analyzed data shared by Comscore, an American media measurement and analytics company, further found that consumption of content on OTT platforms was the highest by males.


The present report is an attempt by MICA’s Centre for Media and Entertainment Studies (CMES) to bridge the industry academia gap and at the same time create knowledge for different stakeholders.


Gender-wise consumption:


Despite investing in female-centric content, Netflix’s demographic was heavily skewed towards male audiences like most other streaming platforms. This is very different from its demographic profile in territories like the United States, where greater gender parity has been achieved


For Netflix, 72% of the unique visitors in March 2019 were men, within which the 15-24 age group dominated nearly 50% of the shares. Interestingly, Netflix saw a greater traction among older female viewers; the 35+ age group made the largest share of visitors, followed by 25-34.


ZEE5 has more or less gender parity in viewership in March 2019, with 56% male and 46% female visitors. For Airtel TV, 74% of the unique visitors in March 2019 were males, largely in the 15-24 bracket.


Seventy percent of the audience on Twitter in March 2019 were males, with the 15-24 age group comprising 40% of this demographic. Among females, the 25-34 age group had the most visitors.


For Amazon Prime, visitors were largely males (72.5%) in the month of March 2018. The 15-34 demographic formed upward of 70% of the audience share for Amazon Prime Video for both genders.


Hotstar’s demographic tilt to male audiences remains unchanged, who made up 69% of the platform’s consumption in March 2019. The sports heavy content, generally a men’s interest genre, is likely one of the contributing factors. The 15-24 age group remains the largest viewers among both females and males. Hotstar bagged 135 million viewers in the first three days of the VIVO IPL 2019. For IPL 2018, a turnout was over 202 million


For Google News, over 60% of the audience accessing the platform in March 2019 were men. Whereas, for Inshorts, that picks up news content and condenses it in 60 words, more than 70% of the unique visitors in March 2019 were men. Inshorts had close to 6.2 million unique visitors in March 2019, a 194% change since March 2018, when visitors equaled 2.1 million.


Regional content:


Regional is the new battle zone following the availability of internet through mobile phones at a massive scale and low rates, the internet dark zones, especially the semi urban and rural areas have got access to content. Many of the users are first generation OTT content consumers. Since these areas are non-urban areas, which are supposed to have an inflow of mainstream content, the new consumers have been attracted to regional content. The newer players in regional content include Hoichoi, Ullu, MXPlayer to name a few.


According to Google, 97% of the content consumed on YouTube is in the regional languages. The report stated that 60% of the watch time on YouTube happens outside the six metro areas.


Hoichoi (All Bengali content) witnessed an 85% growth in traffic from 76K total unique visitors in March 2018 to 140K in March 2019. A total of 2 million minutes were consumed in March 19, averaging 6.4 minutes per visitor.


75% of the top 10 high-traction content in the 10 major regional languages are music-related, either the soundtracks of feature films or songs by independent artists. Songs from film soundtracks were more popular in Bhojpuri, Odiya, Kannada, Malayalam, and Tamil. Independent artists’ music caught on more in Punjabi, Gujarati, and Marathi.


Digital consumption/unique visitors:


YouTube recorded 274 million total unique viewers in March 2019, occupying a 93.4% reach. The change in total unique viewership for Netflix witnessed 187% change as their digital population increased from 5396 in March 2018 to 15501 in March 2019.


ZEE5 witnessed a 164% change in unique visitors, from 9.9 million in March 2018 to 26.2 million in March 2019, with audiences crossing the 20 million mark in October 2018. 90%+ visitors accessed the platform on mobile phones. The mobile app usage has exponentially risen during the 1-year period, from 26% of the viewership in March 2018 to 73% by March 2019.



Age-group: 15-24, March 2019: (Figures in 000)






OTT platform

Male (In 000)

Females (In 000)

Amazon Prime















Alt Balaji







Quotes From Officials/Experts:


Speaking about the OTT Platforms 2019 report, Dr Shailendra Raj Mehta, President & Director, MICA said, “The telecom explosion in India has percolated to every corner of the country resulting in easy access to data, with OTT media services changing how people watch television. The digital media revolution has globalized the world with 50% of the world’s population going online and around two-thirds possessing a mobile phone. Social media has penetrated into our day-to-day life with nearly three billion people accessing it in some form.


There is a constant engagement and formation of like-minded digital communities. Limited and focused content is the key for engaging with the audience, thereby tapping into the opportunities present, leading to volumes of content creation and bigger budgets. The OTT report developed by MICA, is thus an endeavour in this direction. The report encompasses in-depth research and analysis from an Indian perspective and is one of its kind.”


Dr Preeti Shroff, Dean, MICA said, “MICA’s Media and Entertainment Management Specialisation is responsive to the industry that is particularly impacted by the digital disruption and offers an increasingly attractive career path for the next generation creative and analytical managers and leaders. The global trends in this sector are rooted in digital transformations - new technology, tools and platforms, increasingly driven by locally and globally diverse consumer preferences. There is a great creative and business opportunity for local language specific and culture appropriate content innovations, and expanded usage of digitally enabled platforms relevant for diverse audience connect in various parts of the world.


Dr Darshan Trivedi, Editor, Indian OTT Platforms Report said, “Through this report, we have tried to showcase the changing ecosystem of the OTT in Media and Entertainment sector in India and the opportunities that await the content creators and platforms. The biggest global players have understood the regional flavor and hence the upcoming platforms are going regional. The content is getting redefined and the biggest challenge is the upcoming censorship that the Government will roll out soon. Another interesting trend is that in a big way, consolidation between platforms is happening.


The coming 12 months are going to be exciting as far as the regulations are concerned. The self-regulatory framework is the best for the largest democracy in the world. Finally what the current TRAI consultation paper recommendations comes across, how the OTT platforms will come under the regulatory regime, how the proposed bills will impact the functioning and regulation of content ecosystem will decide the way how business will take shape.”


Kandaswamy Bharathan, visiting faculty at MICA and IIMA said, “The 20+ project announcements made in the last 6 months show that OTTs are bullish on South Indian content and commissioning 30-40% regional shows alongside Hindi ones. There are some really exciting Tamil shows releasing in the next few months and this trend is going to get stronger in the next 1-2 years where we will see a significant number of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam shows.


All the major OTT platforms starting with Amazon Prime and Netflix have bulked up their Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam film libraries in the last one year.”


Siddharth Deshmukh, Adjunct faculty, at MICA says, “We are also seeing some other real time behavioral changes in media consumption. Cutting the umbilical cable/satellite cord is a recent phenomenon- when we see entire families check what’s on Netflix/Amazon Prime/other OTT platforms before (if ever) going to check what’s happening on normal media. Yes, this behavior is still in its infancy. It has groups of early adopters and innovators who are avoiding what’s on normal radio and TV for the fluid content of the new OTT formats.”


Chirag Dagli, Director, Communications Craft said, “Another trend that's likely to intensify in the coming year is the innovative use of interactivity coupled with live content. Sports, news, and reality shows already enjoy a sizable share of the Indian audience. And the OTT platforms are smartly integrating interactivity and marketing them aggressively to lure the TV audience to the platforms.”


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