Premium VOD Viewership Rises in India


While YouTube still dominates online viewing in India, premium VOD usage—across SVOD and freemium services—is on the rise, logging a 12 percent share of watch time, with 6.1 trillion minutes streamed from January 2022 to March 2023, according to Media Partners Asia.

India Online Video Report: Analysis of Consumption, Content & Investment Trends uses data from MPA’s AMPD measurement platform, tracking consumption on Android and iOS mobile and computer devices in India, with a sample size of 13,000.

Premium VOD logged a 12 percent share of viewing, as compared with YouTube’s 88 percent. Per MPA, this is in line with other emerging streaming markets in the region, including Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, but well behind more mature markets like Australia, which is at 35 percent.

In the premium VOD category, Disney+ Hotstar leads consumption with a 38 percent share across the 15 months in the measured period, driven by sports plus Hindi and regional entertainment. The combined Zee and Sony group had a 13 percent share, again with sports as a key driver, alongside regional, local and international content. Jio Cinema has emerged as a strong contender in the space on the back of its IPL deal. Meanwhile, global heavyweights Prime Video and Netflix had an aggregate 10 percent share of premium VOD category minutes. Prime’s usage was led by local content (more than 60 percent). At Netflix, local content’s contribution to viewership was just 24 percent.

Across premium VOD, local content dominates viewing outside of sports, especially in freemium. In paid tiers, international content leads at 51 percent, notably U.S. titles with a 36 percent share. Korean content is picking up traction in India, with a 6 percent share. Within local content consumption on paid tiers, Indian originals contributed 26 percent.

Mihir Shah, VP at MPA India, noted: “The next 6 to 12 months will remain critical for the OTT sector as platforms strive to balance monetization and profitability against content investment. Disney+ Hotstar retains a strong local entertainment platform, powered by Star’s Hindi and regional content depth. The platform’s SVOD layer should ideally consolidate and anchor its offering to remaining sports rights, led by ICC men’s cricket, popular Marvel content and Disney family content.

“Among global players, we see continued momentum in the future for Prime Video, which is closing on 20 million paid subscribers. Its success is largely attributable to the launch of its mobile edition, a new ad tier, Prime Video Channels and TVOD, along with a deep bench of regional content and will continue to drive growth in 2023. Netflix will continue to grow at pace though with relatively low ARPUs—its cadence of local originals remains impressive but still contributes less than 30 percent to overall viewership on the platform. We expect fresh bets may have a larger impact in 2H.”

Shah concluded: “In spite of several tech glitches impacting user experience, the free live streaming of the men’s IPL cricket ensured that Jio Cinema consumption grew substantially in April 2023, while its average daily engagement reached 50 minutes. However, sustained viewership levels will remain critical in the absence of IPL cricket during 2H 2023, especially as the platform has increased its investment in local content and premium international content, setting the stage for the growth of its premium tier.”