At Accedo, we are lucky enough to work globally with clients across a variety of industries, including; media, entertainment, publishing, and more. If you’ve been in the position of launching a product across multiple geographic regions, you may have noticed the challenges that it brings. Each geographic region is often vastly different from another, with differing customer behaviors and expectations, alternative competitors in the market, and unique cultural factors which all impact the product offering. In our experience, there is nowhere that this is more prominent than in India.
With its huge market size and population, India makes for an attractive region to break into, both for domestic and international companies. According to the IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation), the size of the OTT video streaming market in India is forecasted to reach USD 5 billion by 2026.
So, if you’ve decided that you want to release a product in India, that’s great! Here are a few things you might need to know first, which will help you achieve a successful launch.
Current state of the OTT market in India
Firstly, let’s understand what’s happening in the Indian market right now. OTT in India is primarily consumed on mobile phones, with up to 90% of video consumption on mobile alone. There are a few contributing factors that lead to device dominance. Many households do not own large TVs, or only have a single TV unit, which means households are restricted to shared family viewing. Due to their local manufacturing, Chinese branded mobile phones are extremely popular and affordable in India.
Extreme competition amongst national data providers force the rates down and the perks up, making data rates in India among the cheapest in the world. Simply put, the dominance is due to the cost and availability of mobile devices and mobile data. These factors make mobile video streaming an affordable option for Indian consumers.
The market is continuously growing and the majority of traditional broadcasters are now looking toward the OTT world. A highly regulated television industry is pushing more and more broadcasters to move into OTT, as these offerings carry fewer restrictions. There are a plethora of content creators in India, and huge amounts of video content are available on free, ad-funded services. As India is a very price-sensitive market, people are willing to watch ads if this allows them to gain access to quality content.
Following discussions with leaders across the OTT space in India, it is clear that the market is dominated by Android devices, with as much as a 90% share of mobile phones. These leaders also believe that low-cost data and affordable Chinese branded phones, manufactured in India, will allow OTT to thrive in the region. The key ingredients of low price smartphones and edgy content will be a recipe for success.
Unique audience behaviors
Now, let’s dive into some of the unique audience behaviors in India. With a huge range of languages spoken across the country (121 languages and 270 mother tongues, according to the 2011 census), it presents unique requirements for product launches. At Accedo we know through our own research that most people – especially in regional and remote areas, are looking for content primarily based on language and genre, so making your apps accessible to these audiences is key. This includes content available in many languages, extensive subtitles and language support features for the app interface itself.
Following on from this, onboarding and subscription are extremely important considerations for the Indian market. Most users are not willing to provide personal information upfront, and mobile number and OTP sign-up methods are preferred across the board, rather than extensive sign-up flows. We have seen much more conversion with this sign-up strategy in the region, especially when paired with social login options.
Many users are also wary of free trials that lock them into recurring payments. This is due to a large majority not owning credit cards, or an unwillingness to have a card connected to recurring payments. There are also increasing regulations around these regular payment set-ups, making it a complex option for both the customer and the provider. For this reason, recharge payment models, and month-to-month options are much more common. If you can consider this monetization model, your offering is likely to be much more successful in the Indian market.
Altering your product offering to suit the market
It’s important to remember if launching a premium subscription-based product in India, that free, ad-funded services are extremely popular. Paid video services are only targeted at the top-tier income earners. New services should consider altering their subscription models for the Indian market, in order to reach a wider audience. Alterations such as making some content available for free, extended free trials with no lock-ins, or creating tiered subscription models are all beneficial. For example, an international powerhouse like Netflix has a unique offering in India, where they provide an extremely low-cost subscription model that supports mobile video playback only.
Product leaders in the OTT industry in India, are working to make their apps as frictionless as possible in order to grow their user base. It is more important to get people into the app first, and progress from there, by creating organic opportunities to upsell into subscriptions. These stakeholders believe they will find the most success if their customers feel subscription is a seamless part of the journey.
India is a unique and ever-changing market that is only at the beginning of its OTT and video entertainment journey. New services are being launched regularly and the market opportunities are huge. If you’re thinking of expanding into the market, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Accedo. With offices across the world and a dedicated office in India, we have teams with global reach and local expertise that are ready to help.
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