Indians are spending a significant amount of time on video streaming platforms as they remain confined to their homes amid the lockdown enforced to curtail the rapid spread of coronavirus in the country.
The video OTT (Over The Top) platforms, that are witnessing growth in consumption as well as new subscribers, are now offering free content on their platform to keep the entertainment quotient high as people are stuck at home.
Take the example of Zee5, which is offering new shows, premium movies, as well as Zee5 originals free of cost on the platform.
New original content available for free streaming on Zee5 includes Kar Le Tu Bhi Mohabbat starring Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar; love drama Kehne Ko Humsafar Hai starring Ronit Roy and Mona Singh; Sharman Joshi-starrer Baarish; and Ishq Aaj Kal, among others.
Even Eros Now is offering free service for two months to all those who subscribe prior to March 31.
Children and families in India can keep themselves entertained for free on Amazon Prime.
Users can have access to free kids and family content if they have an Amazon account. Note that viewers do not need Prime membership to access this content.
On Prime, Pete the Cat; 'Baahubali: The Lost Legends; Just Add Magic; The Stinky Dirty Show, nursery rhymes and stories of Chhota Bheem are some of the shows that are available for free for Indian viewers.
What video OTTs can learn from the COVID-19 disruption?
Making content available for free during COVID-19 disruption period could help video streaming platforms identify newer markets to tap into, as well as their content preferences.
Along with free content, OTT players should also focus on different pricing options like sachet packages, or allowing customers to pay only for the content they watch.
Video OTTs seeing rise in consumption
During the coronavirus disruption period, video OTT players are also seeing an upward trend in big-screen viewership with consumers accessing content on their smart TVs.
For video streaming platforms, mobile phones are the most effective medium. According to a KPMG-ErosNow survey last year, around 87 percent of the daily time spent on online video is through mobile phones.
While there has been an increase in viewers accessing smart TVs to watch video content, smartphones still remain the main source to access video streaming platforms.
A recent BARC-Nielsen report pointed out that there has been a 3 percent growth in the time spent on video OTT apps on smartphones during COVID-19 disruption period of March 16 to 22.
The report added that consumption on video streaming increased during 10 am to 4 pm in Week-1 of coronavirus lockdown.
Time increase on video on-demand (VoD) platforms on smartphones was led more by metro cities and in the age group of 34 years and above.
Metros saw 4 percent increase in the time spent in Week 1 of COVID-19 shutdown on VoD on smartphones, while non-metros saw a two percent spike.
As for age groups, while 25-34 years saw two percent increase in time spent per user per week, 35-44 years saw 11 percent rise in Week 1 of COVID-19 lockdown.