The evolution of technology and the advancement of digitization is impacting every sphere of our lives. As a result, means of entertainment are also changing. For example, the rising popularity of OTT TV has ended up changing our ways of watching television shows.
Artificial Intelligence is a boon to mankind, and OTT is a shining example of the same. Earlier, watching content was only possible via broadcasting networks, and the only primary medium was television. However, that is not the case anymore. OTT is the new buzzword of the decade, and this article is all about it.
OTT meaning and its rise in India
People who are still unaware of the OTT full form– it is Over The Top, and needless to say, it is now a ubiquitous term for everyone who loves watching movies and shows. A streaming service provider that uses the internet as a medium is an OTT platform. Some of the most common names of OTT platforms include Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and more.
Gone are the days when we had to wait for our favorite movie till a channel decided to premiere it on a Sunday afternoon. Instead, now everything is available just a few clicks away, all thanks to technological advancement.
You will no longer have to call the cable operator to find out why your favorite channel is not working. Moreover, with the rising popularity of OTT platforms, there is no requirement of paying the cable operator for several regional channels that you hardly watch.
Why do people prefer online streaming over cable TV services?
The motto now is to pay less and watch only what you want. Additionally, there are several reasons why more people in India and all across the world want to upgrade to internet streaming services.
One of the most primary is the flexibility of operation, which means anyone can install these OTT apps and enjoy all their favorite movies and shows. You don’t need too much technical knowledge to understand the options at all. Moreover, you pay for what you see only, which means you can subscribe only to your favorite platform and not have to pay for the rest.
After a few days, when the subscription expires, the choice of renewal is totally up to you. Subscription rates are very reasonable, and there are multiple schemes too. It means that you can choose one that looks more convenient to you. For example, if you are new to a platform and unsure whether you will want to stick to it for a longer time, a monthly or quarterly subscription is suitable. Otherwise, there are annual subscriptions too.
History of OTT in India
Do you know the name of the debut Indian OTT platform? It was BigFlix, and the launch took place in 2008 under the umbrella of the esteemed Reliance Entertainment. The popularity of BigFliz started rising, and soon it launched Ditto TV and SonyLive.
While the former was dedicated to releasing all Zee network shows and originals, the latter was Sony’s medium to reach out to a vast audience. However, the massive breakthrough for BigFlix was in 2015 with the launch of Disney+Hotstar, which is now one of the most popular OTT platforms. Star and Disney’s collaboration, which has the best variety of Disney movies and shows. Moreover, you can watch all StarTV shows on Hotstar, including daily soaps, news, and sports.
Besides, if you have a premium subscription, you benefit from watching all shows before it comes on TV. 2016 was another landmark year for Indian OTT TV users with the launch of Netflix in the country. It is now leading all charts with its massive viewership volume. Both Disney+ Hotstar and Amazon Prime face tough competition from Netflix because of the excellent consistency regarding featured content and user satisfaction.
Netflix is the primary platform for Western cinema lovers with content in English and several other foreign languages. There are undoubtedly pros and cons of each of these platforms, and the best way to determine whether or not you are willing to subscribe to one of these depends on a few essential factors. For example, the type of content you prefer watching, the budget that you have, and of course, the level of satisfaction you get from each of these platforms.
The subscription plans are pretty reasonable, and most users often choose more than one platform. For example, you can select Hotstar for Indian daily shows and some English TV shows. On the other hand, Amazon Prime is an excellent option for Indian language content and some standard OTT original shows. Moreover, Netflix is the hub for English cinema and a variety of original shows along with several foreign language contents that you were looking for to date.
What are the top OTT platforms in India?
You will be happy to know that we have done some research on your behalf. Therefore, in the upcoming section, you will find a list of suggestions regarding the best OTT platforms. You will undoubtedly enjoy the content on each of these and not even regret subscribing to more than one.
Finally, it is time to decide and start enjoying the latest shows and movies whenever you want to. Moreover, subscribing to one of these OTT platforms in India means that you will get a notification whenever new content is uploaded.
The AI used to run these platforms are capable enough to analyze your searches and suggest you content that is related to your search history. As a result, content reaches you even before your friends inform you about the release of a new movie.
Here is a list of the best OTT platforms in India:
Disney + Hotstar
This is one of the most leading streaming services available in India and is under the ownership of Star India. As the name suggests, Disney+ Hotstar is one of the globally famous Walt Disney Group
This platform offers only two subscription plans- The Premium and The VIP to make it easier for users. While the former includes international TV series and movies, VIP is dedicated to domestic content and sports only. The monthly subscription rate is super reasonable at just Rs. 129, and the annual plan is available for Rs. 999. The best part is that you can also enjoy a 30-day trial of Disney+ Hotstar before you decide to subscribe.
Owned and managed by Amazon, Prime Videos is your ultimate dose of entertainment, and it is even better for Indians. With an array of superhit Hindi movies and other regional shows, over 10 million people in India prefer Amazon Prime Videos over other streaming services. Moreover, 2020 was a remarkable year for Amazon as it hit a record high in sales volume.
Staying at home would have been more depressing during the global pandemic without the excellent content on Amazon Prime. Additionally, international blockbuster originals such as Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are also why people from all over the world are subscribing to Prime.
Another fantastic benefit that you can enjoy with a premium subscription on Amazon is access to free music, online books, and an overall amazing shopping experience. You would be happy to know that Amazon delivers products to Premium customers faster compared to other users. The quarterly subscription is just Rs. 329, and the annual costs Rs. 999, and you can also avail promo codes that are available online.
Founded in 1997, Netflix Inc is presently leading the global chart of the best OTT platforms. It has its headquarters in California and is one of the very first subscription-based streaming platforms. In 2012, Netflix released its first online content, and the digital library started filling up very soon.
There are several plans that Netflix offers based on the number of users who are associated with one account. For example, the lowest monthly subscription costs Rs 199 that offers a single screen sign-up only.
The maximum subscription charge for a monthly package is Rs. 799, and multiple users can only run the content through one primary account. Moreover, there are zero hidden charges and an option to enjoy a few of the shows free of cost. Well, for that, you have to log in to Netflix.com/watch-free and then choose what you want to watch.
Of course, the choice is limited when you have no subscription. As per the latest records, over 4.6 million Indians have a premium Netflix subscription. In 2020, the annual turnover of Netflix was a whopping $1.2 billion. If you are looking for promo codes, they are already available on Netflix since January 2021.
Owned by Viacom18, Voot is one of the first exclusively Indian streaming services. Operations began in 2016, and the management works from Mumbai. Content is available only in various Indian languages on Voot.
The primary choices include Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, and Gujarati. The monthly subscription is super-affordable at just Rs. 99, and you can also choose the annual offer at Rs. 999. One of the best parts about watching Voot shows is that you will end up finding famous foreign-language shows dubbed in Indian regional languages.
For example, a series of famous Turkish shows on Voot are all dubbed in Hindi. As a result, global entertainment is now readily available for Indian users. Moreover, with the rising popularity of foreign shows, Voot reports an average of one million monthly subscribers.
Another domestic subscription-based platform, ALTBalaji, is a subsidiary of the famous Balaji Telefilms Ltd. The leading name that has been consistently launching daily soaps and Hindi reality shows, this streaming platform was an excellent initiative of Balaji. Starting from 2017, ALTBalaji boasts original content, unlike other platforms that offer TV soaps and foreign productions.
A single-screen subscription for a month costs just Rs. 49, which means anyone can enjoy shows on this platform. Moreover, with a one-week free trial, it becomes easier to determine whether or not to subscribe to ALTBalaji. Currently, over 34 million Indians watch premium content on ALTBalaji.
A project of Zee Entertainment and Essel Group, ZEE5 is yet another excellent on-demand streaming platform. The launch took place in 2018, and ever since, it has become one of the most favorite OTT platforms in India. One of the best benefits of ZEE5 is that the makers are offering different versions that are compatible with Smart TVs, Web, iOS, and Android.
As a result, everyone, irrespective of devices, can enjoy the content available on this platform. Moreover, you can access both premium and free content on ZEE5. Moreover, unlike other popular streaming platforms, this one offers quite a few subscription plan options to users, the lowest being Rs—99 monthly subscription.
Recently, with an exclusive launch of the much-awaited FRIENDS Reunion 45-minute episode, ZEE5’s revenue is touching an all-time high. Apart from that, you can also check out some of the old ZEE TV shows such as Hum Paanch and Hip Hip Hurray. Who does not like a bit of a trip down the nostalgia lane at times?
How is 2021 going to be for online streaming platforms?
With the second and third waves of the global pandemic, lockdown seems to have become the new life for everyone. While this is entirely unpleasant for the entertainment industry associated with theatres and auditoriums, it is the opposite for online streaming platforms.
The content available on each of these mediums has become the best entertainment option in today’s otherwise mundane lifestyle. With elders having to work from home and children getting bored attending online classes, a show on Netflix or a match on Hotstar can keep us functioning now. Moreover, the ease of subscriptions and flexibility of options is changing the way we watch TV, and experts believe that the change is not temporary for sure.
With an idea about the best OTT platforms in India now, choosing the best is no longer confusing. However, if you still want to make sure before subscribing to one of these, register on the platforms and check out the content available. The one that caters to your satisfaction is, of course, the final choice for you!