Amid the COVID-19 crisis Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar and other such Over The Top (OTT) media platforms have witnessed an unprecedented surge in consumption and in the number of people who are subscribing to these streaming platforms. Ever since the lockdown worldwide people are just watching more content online than they ever did before, to kill the boredom or just because they have nothing better to do.
This is great news for streaming platforms but with limited content around soon they will be struggling to meet the demand. Earlier the OTT consumption was restricted more to later night hours 10 PM to 12 AM, when people finish their work, dinner and family time, and watch online content before they go to sleep. Now, since there is nothing better to do for many people out there the primetime has moved to 7 pm onwards, which has significantly increased the need for more content to be available for viewing.
This means that popular streaming applications such as Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, and others have to start catering to increasing demand. What’s further worrying for these platforms may be that in the next weeks, when all the TV channels have aired all the remaining content, those who were not OTT consumers will shift to OTT for new content and the streaming sites might have to get prepared for that eventuality, pretty soon.
Some of the popular streaming applications such as Amazon Prime Video have already started doling out free content for the kids, to keep them engaged and also give their parents some relief during the lockdown. Viacom18 has its own OTT platform called Voot Select, has also gained in the subscriber numbers due to the spike in demand. It has been almost three-times more subscriber increase than the previous estimations, which itself shows the increase in demand.
Maintaining the streaming Quality is the challenge
There have been concerns raised by cellular Operators as the increase in online streaming would make it difficult for operators to provide seamless services. They have even asked OTT platforms to reduce streaming quality to help reduce data consumption. This is going to be a great challenge for OTT content providers to maintain the streaming quality. What is evident from the growing trend is that a continuous surge may significantly affect their performance if the lockdown period will be extended for a longer period and even when the economy dwindles. There might come a time when people may have to prioritize between watching OTT content and buying vegetables, paying bills, rent and other immediate worries. This shift may not be good for these players.