Online streaming of content on-demand was once reserved for old and unreleased films, but a pandemic caused a revolution. Social distancing has consigned theater interactions to an unpredictable future, shifting customer behavior, and reforming content distribution.
This is not clear when multiplexes and movie theaters should be reopened, if at all. At the same time, house-bound viewers are rapidly consuming over-the-top (OTT) content. Since the lockdown has begun, streaming services such as Netflix, Putlocker, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+Hotstar, Voot, and YouTube have been deeply developed.
OTT market growth
The pandemic’s order to leave cinemas empty, mainstream movies have been postponed, although luxury videos on demand (VOD) are viewed by the public every day. Many films to be made available in theaters are transferred to Amazon Prime directly. Content consumption is not confined to television. Smartphone numbers are higher than in Television numbers. Two sources of revenue were produced mainly through screen material ads and subscriptions. An unforeseen and ironic result of increased OTT viewing is that advertising sales did not increase correspondingly.
Large businesses in the retail and transport sectors have become especially hard hit; companies are in difficulty, investment is restricted, and potential plans are constrained. Flexible subscriptions, such as joint Netflix accounts and regular and weekly Sony Liv services, are essential to keep the viewer loyal. There are substantial costs to produce and buy material for OTT Platforms. Acquisition costs increase with the effects of the pandemic driving premium content into OTT sale because the concept is focused on negative cash flow: first, buy it, then recover it. While current business models are likely to continue, payment services are expected to overtake the sector.
The regulatory framework for OTT platforms
India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority will lead to the establishment of a regulatory system for OTT communication services. The market wants to learn if the current telecommunications system will be utilized by OTT providers, which business structures would be appropriate from a tax and regulatory viewpoint, and what interoperability between the different OTT services and between OTT services and telecom networks.
OTT operators are self-regulating on content. Netflix, Downloadhub, Disney+Hotstar, ALTBalaji, and others have introduced standards of best practice for their content. Whether the Central Board of Film Certification will participate in content released on OTT platforms is unclear, especially when there is no prior theatrical release. Movie distributors have to abide by certification rules, and television networks have to comply with the show and commercial guidelines. Web series operators, movies, and other material either distributed digitally or on streaming channels have no such limitations. As intermediaries, OTT networks can have to abide by the Information Technology Act, 2000.
The hero eventually conquers the villain at the end of Bollywood film, but will Bollywood be able to combat the coronavirus pandemic and achieve a happy ending?