In India, there are over 57 streaming services listed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as of March.
OTT aggregators are increasingly entering this market by partnering with TV operators, ISPs and telecom companies to offer services at lower rates to customers.
OTTPay, YuppTV Scope, and Tata Play Binge are aggregators supported by companies with established footholds in the media industry. They aim to merge various subscriptions that consumers might not consider subscribing to together.
To achieve this, they offer bundles at reduced prices to make non-subscription appear imprudent. It's a simple and tricky tactic to get the business done.
OTTplay offers its users a bundle that includes subscriptions to multiple streaming services, including Sony LIV and ZEE5. The company claims that this bundle is more than twelve times cheaper than buying each subscription individually from the service offering them.
OTTplay's founder, Avinash Mudaliar, mentioned that there are very few limitations in the OTT industry. For example, ShemarooMe's content would not be available in Gujarati and Sony LIV and ZEE5 cannot be accessed on Apple TV devices, reports The Hindu.
OTTplay, a firm selling bundles directly to customers, recognises the benefits of forming partnerships with telecom and TV companies. These firms offer a much easier point of access for customers who are already paying a monthly bill.
Even streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have acknowledged the advantages of distribution on broadband and mobile operators' bills despite their absence in aggregator bundles.
As the demand for bundling services from telecom operators continues to rise, reports of fraud within the system have emerged, as per the report.
Certain telecom firms have resorted to illegally partnering with broadband and TV operators, without obtaining licenses from the streaming platforms they distribute.
According to an industry executive, said the report, pirates are acquiring promotional coupons from various websites and selling them to ISPs at significantly reduced rates. However, the streaming platforms often disable these coupons, leaving customers agitated as they are then unable to activate their paid services.
Aggregators severely decrease the pricing of streaming services, raising doubts about whether OTT platforms can continue to sustain production costs.
As per the report, at an event this month, Monika Shergill, Vice President of Content at Netflix India, highlighted that the majority of subscriber base for OTT platforms comes from telco bundling. However, it is uncertain how many customers actually activate their accounts and engage with the service.
“The way the industry is evolving, it’s highly focused on changing consumer behaviour right now.
“Being a part of a bundle helps you increase reach at a lower cost of acquisition … The objective is how and when you want to convert them (bundle users) into direct consumers,” Manish Kalra, the Chief Business Officer at ZEE5 India told The Hindu.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!