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The OTT war in India becomes intense in 2021 

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ have competition. Even as these established players expand their presence in the Indian market through innovations in content and strategy, a slew of new OTT players are set to disrupt and diversify the market.

Last year, the world stumbled upon the reality of entertainment in the digital space mainly thanks to the Covid lockdown. What now looks to burgeoning into a multi-crore industry in the country, almost threatening the very existence of cinema halls, promises many more options for the consumers.

We list some of the new players, who are carving a place in the Indian cyber space.

Lionsgate Play
Starz, a leading premium global streaming platform launched in India last December. At the moment, the subscriptions available are Rs 699 for a year and Rs 99 per month. The platform aims to get into original content creation in India soon.

“India has always been a key market for us. The large and diverse population, increased data usage in urban and rural markets, and adoption of OTT across all demographics created an exciting opportunity for us to launch Lionsgate Play,” Jeffrey A Hirsch, President and CEO, Starz, said while launching the app in India.

What’s good: The app comes with a huge catalogue of the studio, which already has a set fan base in the market.

What’s not good: The app launched a campaign backed by Bollywood power with Tiger Shroff and Ananya Panday, but they don’t have any Indian content. This would mean they would miss out on regional market.

Apple TV+
The streaming platform is gradually making its place in the market. It is reported that Apple is reportedly spending $6 billion on its initial lineup of TV shows, documentary series, and other originals for its streaming service. At the moment, they are not into creation of original content in India.

What’s good: The content can be enjoyed with family.

What’s not good: They have a limited catalogue.

The WarnerMedia backed streaming service is expected to make its way into India this year, with its vast library. They have revivals and reunions of legacy series — “Friends”, “Sex And The City”, “True Blood” and “Gossip Girl” — planned to get the audience hooked. However, it will be interesting to see how their strategy of simultaneous release of films in theatres and on OTT is received in India.

What’s good: The app already has a huge library, including films that will release simultaneously on the platform.

What’s not good: Internationally, they don’t offer free trial. Although, it is not clear about how they plan to go about it in India. Not giving free trial here can work against them, as most other players give such trials.

The streaming service by Discovery was launched in India in March last year, and has only now turned to creating original content for its service in India. They have roped in Bollywood celebrities Manoj Bajpayee, Rana Daggubati, Neeraj Pandey and Randeep Hooda to take forward their plans.

In the first half of 2021, the streaming service has planned more than 200 new local and global titles. Along with India-produced originals, it will also launch other Indian titles including shows such as “Amma & Appa”, “The Indian Dream Hotel”, “The Ganges With Sue Perkins”, “Aerial India” as well as exclusive launches like “A Perfect Planet” featuring David Attenborough,”The End Of The Storm”, “The Impossible Row” and the latest seasons of “Top Gear” and “Gold Rush”.

What’s good: They differentiate themselves with edutainment content, revolving adventure, wildlife, travel and lifestyle.

What’s not good: Lack of movies and scripted TV shows will discourage the audience looking for entertainment through fiction — and that is a huge segment.

BookMyShow Stream
The online ticketing platform BookMyShow has rolled out its streaming platform, dedicated to films. It operates on a transaction video-on-demand (TVOD) model, which is a pay-per-view format where viewers can either buy or rent and watch.

With over 600 movie titles and 72,000 plus hours of content, the platform will feature a specially curated library of films. The platform will have over 22,000 hours of exclusive content. For now, Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet”, Gal Gadot’s superhero adventure “Wonder Woman 1984” and Horror fantasy “The Craft: Legacy” will be available on the platform.

What’s good: The sheer size of their library of films is enviable.

What’s not good: There is no official mention of shows and series yet, for fans of that format of entertainment.

Biigbang Amusement
The streaming platform will be dedicated to exhibiting original short films from all over the world, and will be launched with an initial subscription fee of Rs 1 per month.

“We want to build the largest content library with an array of choices for audiences with genres that scale across categories. We want BBAP to host a deep and rich library of original titles. We also aim to release one new original film every day, throughout the year,” Ssudip Mukherjee, co-Founder of the platform, told IANS.

“Our vision is to create the largest subscription base with an initial subscription fee being only Re. 1/- per month, where our audiences will be able to watch fresh and exciting content on a daily basis,” Mukherjee added.

They are “planning for a soft launch on February 14, this year, followed by a big launch around March – April 2021”.

What’s good: This seems like the first real organised attempt to popularise the short film in India.

What’s not good: In a country that has forever been driven by feature films, it could be difficult to garner a subscription base. IANS

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