Vodafone Idea on Tuesday said that the “telecom industry is undergoing a digital transformation” due to the “growing” consumption of over-the-top (OTT) platforms along with the Internet of Things (IoT) “acceleration.” The operator shared the development in its annual report with Vodafone Idea also highlighting that the telecom operators are “transitioning from being pure telecom service providers to integrated digital service providers.” Vodafone Idea said that the operators are providing a “suite of digital service applications, own as well as through partnerships” along with the basic voice and data services.
OTT Platforms Are Here to Stay
The third-largest wireless operator in India highlighted that it has tied up with multiple OTT platforms like Voot Select, Sun NXT and Lionsgate Play to offer “best in class content” to its users. However, Vodafone Idea said that the telecom operators in addition to entertainment content also provide information, cloud and storage services.
“This, in turn, is opening up several new revenue streams for the operators in the long run,” Vodafone Idea said in its annual report.
Further, the operator said that it has tied up with “leading content providers” such as Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5 and Netflix for its “premium” users.
“In recent partnerships, Vi has collaborated with Hungama to launch Pay Per View Model for premiering digital films from Hollywood at a one time cost,” Vodafone Idea said in its annual report. “This unique offering is available only on Vi amongst telecom operators for its postpaid Android users and provides a library of 350 titles in 4 languages.”
OTT platforms have certainly gained significance not just among telecom operators but also Direct-to-Home (DTH) operators who are now partnering with OTT players to emerge as a one-stop destination for all entertainment content.
Dish TV India in its annual report released in late August highlighted that 2.8 crore users across India together account for 5.3 crores paid OTT subscriptions. The third-largest DTH operator in India said that the number was around 1.05 crores users in 2019, translating to a 49% growth in 2020.
“There is a continuous pressure on retention of subscribers due to various alternates available for entertainment at various price points,” Dish TV India said in its annual report. “There is a huge push for online contemporary content provided by various paid / free OTT platforms attracting youth and students across the income strata.”
The operator highlighted that it launched hybrid Set-Top Boxes (STB) such as DishSMRT HUB to “meet the needs” of its users who “access linear as well as non-linear content on their television sets.” Dish TV India also highlighted that it has partnered with “leading players in OTT and entertainment space” space like Zee5, Amazon Prime Video and Sony Liv to introduce their services onto its hybrid devices.
“We will continue to collaborate with technology partners for carrying out the enhancements for our connected devices, maintain and enter into strategic partnership and collaboration with leading players in the OTT and entertainment space to bring best in class entertainment to our customers,” Dish TV India said in its annual report.
Total Active DTH Users Dip in India
Meanwhile, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in its Performance Indicators report for the period ended March 2021, highlighted that the total active paid DTH users have dipped to 6.957 crores. The report released by Trai in late August also highlights that the total active paid DTH user base in India was just over 7 crores in the quarter ended March 31, 2020. According to the Trai data, the total active paid DTH user base continued to increase in the following quarters with the user base hitting 7.099 crores in the quarter ended December 31, 2020.
“There was a major shift in the consumer behaviour reflected in the higher number of OTT consumption both in terms of time and amount spent by the consumer,” Dish TV India said in its annual report.
Edelweiss Research, a leading domestic institutional brokerage house, said in a note that it expects OTTs to “co-exist” with cinema theatres in India. The firm highlighted that a “number of originals” are set to hit the OTT platforms during the upcoming festive season.
“OTT platforms have also stepped up their content in terms of new originals and non-fiction shows as the pandemic has resulted in a lasting shift in consumers’ behaviour towards online content consumption, particularly originals and series,” Edelweiss Research said in its note.