What is over the top?

In the world of consumerism, the word “consumption” has been evolving in a variety of senses, from eating to drinking to content consumption in the recent times, be it verbal or visual. Specifically, this lockdown owing to Covid-19 has made people spend more time on OTTs (Over the Top) consuming enormous visual content of various genres. Though most of us know Netflix, Zee5, Hotstar and such stuffs, it wouldn’t be common to know them as OTTs until the recent past.

How does it work?

Over the Top services has its name, as it provides content through a high-speed Internet connection going “over” a cable box or satellite broadcaster in order to provide television content access to the user.

Entertainment Industry’s Response to OTT

Primarily, the Indian movie distribution companies observe OTT streaming services as a money-spinning option, and a better means to reaching the audiences. Besides, making movies has come to be easier as the result of digitalization, giving birth to a huge chunk of independent moviemakers, who explore groundbreaking ideas. Hence, the new-age moviemakers are on the lookout for such distributors who make buying Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) rights or online rights easy for them.

Besides enjoying the benefits of OTT’s popularity, content producers and moviemakers are able to recover the cost by selling their movie rights to OTT video platforms.

What cards do the distributors play?

So far, Indian film distribution companies attempt building a film rights database that satisfies two basic aspects – quality titles and captivating content. Even now, this practice of buying the rights to build the library of titles based on identifying the movie potential exists in the industry. Once this process is over, the distributors hunt for an OTT video platform of reputation that is inclined to buy the content and strike the deal.

OTT and Consumer Behaviour

OTT subscriptions are disrupting conventional cable TVs and there is a gradual shift in the consumer behaviour towards opting for online channels, whose advent is named as “cord-cutting”. On a lighter note, cord cutting has freed humans from the TV cord, but chained them down with a cordless bond. Unlike the days when audiences were left with no options, and liked whatever was screened in the cinemas or television, OTTs given them a new freedom, enabling the subscribers watch their favourite programs at ease without enduring the numbness of watching ads or waiting. Particularly, for the internet buff who wants to watch it all themselves and with absolute privacy, the variety of content from across the globe provided by OTTs is a boon. Predominantly, people are into watching content that are educational, for children, fitness, cookery etc.

Where is India in the race?

OTT media platforms are trending hot across the globe, and contrasting the western broadcasters that grasped late, Indian television channels have been making hay in the OTT space early. Besides, the revisions in the telecom last year and the low tariffs have aided the expansion of OTT platforms. India has been enjoying a major spurt this year in terms of OTT viewership and subscriptions, mainly because of the pandemic lockdown.

On the other hand, there are news reports in the recent times that movie producers are more inclined to opt for OTT to get their finished movies reach the viewers that have been awaiting a theatrical release. Though this move is due to the pandemic lockdown, theatre owners perceive it as a serious threat, as they anticipate OTT to become the new normal post the lockdown. Nevertheless, satellite rights still holds its significance, and should not be ruled out, as the rural markets are a potential pocket even today.

However, as far as the consumers of OTT, they would naturally be eager to watch their favourite movies enjoying the exclusivity of being at home, on their couches.

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