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OTT-The most popular internet use case in India

86% of internet users in India, i.e. 707 Mn people, enjoy OTT audio and video services, making it the top use-case for internet in the country. These numbers were revealed by the ‘Internet in India Report 2023’, jointly prepared by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KANTAR, the world’s leading marketing data and analytics company.

The report was released by Harsh Jain, Chairman, IAMAI, and CEO and Co-founder Dream Sports, at the inaugural session of the India Digital Summit 2024, being organized on February 27-28, at the Jio World Convention Centre. “‘Internet in India’, which is based on the ICUBE 2023 study, covering over 90,000 households across all states and Union Territories of India (barring Lakshadweep), is the most comprehensive survey of internet usage in the country,” he said.

Puneet Awasthi, Director, Specialist Businesses, Insights, South Asia – Business Development, Kantar, India, presented the key figures of the report.

The rise of digital entertainment services is also bolstered by the rise of non-traditional devices (smart TV, smart speakers, Firesticks, Chromecasts, Blue-Ray etc) that has witnessed a growth of 58% between 2021-23 at all India level. The adoption is driven by the new generation ‘cordcutters’ as for the first time, there are more people accessing video content over internet only devices (208Mn) than over conventional linear TV (181Mn).

Other top use-cases of internet in the country are communications, with 621Mn users, and social media with 575Mn users. These are the second and third most popular services availed by Indian internet users. OTT refers to audio/video streaming either from subscribed or user-generated content UGC platforms while Communication refers to text/ voice/ video chat or used email, video conferencing, etc. using an online website or app in the last one year.

The report points out that users from rural India are driving all these use-cases, accounting for more than 50% of the user base for each use case.

The growing internet penetration in India surpassed a new milestone of 800Mn as total Active Internet Users reached 820MN in 2023, meaning more than 55% of Indians have used internet last year. Internet penetration grew across the nation at a modest 8% YoY. Rural India (442 Mn) is a clear majority accounting for over ~53% of the total user base.

From a Male: Female ratio of 71:29 in 2015 we have reached 54:46 in recent times, which is almost at par with the overall sex ratio of the addressable population in the country.

Reading between the lines the report reveals that the growth has decelerated in both urban and rural areas. Rural India, which has been driving internet growth rates for the last many years has been witnessing a slowdown lately (11% YoY), effectively in the post pandemic period, that is lowering overall growth rates (8% YoY). However, while the growth rate has slowed down, in terms of actual numbers it is still phenomenal, since 8 per cent and 11 percent in a base of over 800 million are huge numbers.

One of the ways to accelerate the growth may be to focus on Indic languages which shows a healthy sign of growth in some states. The report finds that 57% users prefer to access content in Indic languages, with languages such as Tamil, Telegu and Malayalam having the strongest language preference for content.

Finally, it is also a matter of great optimism that states with the lowest internet user base is also showing signs of highest growth rates. States such as Jharkhand (46% penetration) and Bihar (37% penetration) are showing above average growth rates of 12% and 17% respectively.

For report,

CT Bureau

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