HYDERABAD: Just as I start to binge-watch Mirzapur Season 2 on Amazon Prime, a friend messages me with recommendations of new releases A Suitable Boy on Netflix, and Colour Photo on Aha. With a plethora of OTT platforms that come out with new content daily, how do we track, decide what to watch, and not miss out on the genres we like? A recent Ernst & Young (EY) survey cited that during COVID-19, 61 per cent of consumers are streaming more content than before the lockdown, with time spent on video-streaming surging 1.2 times to an average of 4.2 hours per user per week.
Deloitte in its digital trends survey found that streaming during COVID-19 compared to the pre-pandemic market is not so much “before and after” as it is “before and faster.” With streaming service offering free trials, consumers are lapping up the trials, but the real test is retention not just with great content, but also great technology.
A lot of time is wasted in deciding what to watch. Now, apps such as Bingeit and FLYX which are cross-platform services are attempting to cut our decision-making time. “FLYX is an app that helps users quickly find what and where to watch through the use of a unique algorithm that focuses on aggregating reviews from friends, family, and contacts on content across all major streaming platforms,” says founder Shashank Singh. Founded in April along with Mayank Mishra, the app free on both the Apple and Google Play stores is linked to 100+ streaming providers. The app has recorded 45,000+ downloads, and 70 per cent of its users are from India.
With movie theatres being shut, all shooting for daily soaps being put on hold, and people being cooped up at home, OTT platforms have gained prominence. Producers have turned to releasing their latest movies on these platforms, and this is one of the major reasons for their sky-rocketing viewership. However, on the flip side, the current scenario has again put Indian OTT platforms under the spotlight for content censorship, or rather the lack of it. Shashank Singh lists points on why this is important.
The need for self-regulation:
Currently, content released on OTT platforms is not regulated by the censor board. OTT platforms have been pushing back saying that they provide an on-demand service and they constitute a ‘private exhibition’ which is why they should not be regulated in the same manner as movie theatres and television. As a truce, OTT platforms have come up with a self-regulation model. This essentially dictates that OTT platform will follow certain rules, rather than have censorship imposed on them.
Understanding the code
The code strives to empower the viewer by giving them all the information they need to make a decision to watch a certain show or movie. The code outlines the availability of access control tools. This means every player will have to provide comprehensive tools so that minors can be prevented from being exposed to certain titles.
While the move places the power and ownership with the viewer, the question is whether it will be enough. The industry will have to be sensitive about the content they make available, as well as ensure viewer discretion. The success of the self-regulation code will depend on whether the government is satisfied with the steps taken by OTT players.
53% ask friends for reccos
In a survey of 500 netizens done by FLYX, 53 per cent discovered new content based on recos from friends and family, while 21 per cent on suggestions from the platform itself. The respondents primarily belonging to Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata said that most popular category of content is movies and web shows. They prefer comedy and drama. The respondents indicated that Amazon Prime Video was the most subscribed platform followed by Netflix and Hotstar, while Netflix was most popular with 60 per cent majority.
— Tamanna S Mehdi email@example.com @tamannamehdi