The growth achieved by Reliance’s digital streaming brand, JioCinema, has set the stage for the growth of its premium business, according to Singapore-based media analytics firm, Media Partners Asia.
JioCinema achieved nearly 20x growth in April when it streamed the men’s Indian Premier League for free, which ensures that it can dominate in the premium OTT category in the future, according to a report. “It remains to be seen whether its platform can maintain its growth and scale in the absence of IPL action after June 2023,” the report added.
The report highlighted that the premium Video on Demand business (online on on-demand video platforms curating freemium or paid long form content) is seeing healthy engagement in India. Between the measurement period of January 2022 to March 2023, the premium VOD category had a 12 per cent market share in India (versus 10 per cent in 2021). According to the report, this is not too far behind developed markets such as Japan that report a 15-20 per cent market share for this category, and higher than markets such as Indonesia and Thailand, where premium VOD normally has market share below 10 per cent.
“Disney+ Hotstar led premium VOD category consumption over CY 2022 / Q1 2023. Disney+ Hotstar led premium VOD category viewership with 38 per cent share over the measured 2022-Q1 2023 period, driven by sports as well as the depth of its Hindi and regional entertainment,” the report said. Zee-Sony Group were next with 13 per cent premium VOD category share in aggregate with their respective platforms, which are expected to operate separately for another year.
While international streaming platforms, Netflix and Amazon Prime are neck to neck enjoying an aggregate 10 per cent share for premium VOD, Netflix’s Indian originals were poorly received in comparison to Prime. The report observed: “In aggregate, more than 60 per cent of Prime Video’s viewership was anchored to local content. This is in contrast to Netflix where local content’s contribution to viewership was 24 per cent. Netflix’s Indian originals have not been able to sustain their buzz for a long period of time. In contrast, various seasons of Netflix’s major US titles have achieved sustained viewership.”
JioCinema has a 2 per cent share in the premium VOD category, however, “free live streaming of the men’s IPL cricket ensured that Jio Cinema consumption grew more than 20x in April 2023 to ensure that it dominated the premium VOD category. It remains to be seen whether its platform can maintain its growth and scale in the absence of IPL action after June 2023.”
“In spite of several tech glitches impacting user experience, the free live streaming of the men’s IPL cricket ensured that Jio Cinema consumption grew substantially in April 2023 while its average daily engagement reached 50 minutes. However, sustained viewership levels will remain critical in the absence of IPL cricket during 2H 2023 especially as the platform has increased its investment in local content and premium international content, setting the stage for the growth of its premium tier,” the report concluded. The Hindu BusinessLine