Intensifying the streaming war, Apple has launched its much-awaited streaming services announced in March this year. Available in over 100 countries including India starting today, this new service will compete against Netflix, Prime Video and other OTT platforms including Hotstar, Zee5, Alt Balaji, Jio Cinema and more. If reports are to be believed, Apple has invested close to $6 billion on creating original shows and movies.
According to 'Unravelling the digital video consumer' report by KPMG released in September this year, 'India's online video market is potentially one of the most exciting markets and businesses in the world. It is estimated that India will have more than 500 million online video subscribers by FY2023.'
Apple too is eyeing a share of this increasing market and has aggressively priced its streaming service at a monthly subscription of Rs 99, contrary to the US pricing of $4.99 per month. Introductory offers include a seven-day free trial for everyone and one-year free subscription on purchases of a new Apple device including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV or iPod touch. Moreover, up to six family members can share one Apple TV+ subscription and watch using their own Apple ID and password. Apple TV+ originals will be available both online and offline, ad-free and on-demand.
The service is already live in India on the Apple TV app on various Apple devices as well as Fire TV stick. The list of Apple Originals include The Morning Show, SEE, For All Mankind, Dickinson, The Elephant Queen, Helpsters, Ghost Writers and Snoopy in Space to start with. For some shows including The Morning Show, SEE, For All Mankind, only three episodes have been released as of now and a new episode will be released every week, whereas for many others a complete season has been released.
Apple TV+ competes directly against Netflix and Prime Video, which already have a wide library of original as well as licensed content. Netflix recently introduced a mobile-only plan for Rs 199 per month whereas its SD plan for single-screen streaming starts at Rs 499 per month. Amazon's Prime Video along with Prime Music and Prime subscription for shopping on the e-commerce platform has been priced at Rs 129 per month. Competing against these international players are Indian OTT companies such as Hotstar (Rs 299 per month or Rs 999 for a year), Zee5 (Rs 99 for one month or Rs 999 for an year), Alt Balaji (Rs 100 for three months and Rs 300 for an year), to name a few. Airtel and Reliance Jio users have access to Airtel Xstream and JioCinema respectively, for free.
OTT players in India can be categorised in advertising video on demand (players such as YouTube, TVFPlay, Arrey), Subscription video on demand (includes AppleTV+, Netflix, Prime Video, Eros Now, Hooq to name a few) and Freemium (such as Hotstar, Sony Liv, Zee5 , ALT Balaji). Even telcos such as Airtel and Vodafone are offering free access to some of these OTT platforms for a limited time.
According to Global Media and Entertainment Outlook 2019-2023 by PwC, India's OTT video market will grow at a 21.8 per cent CAGR from Rs 4,464 crore in 2018 to Rs 11,976 crore in 2023. Subscription video on demand will increase at a 23.3 per cent CAGR from Rs 3,756 crore in 2018 to Rs 10,708 crore in 2023. The potential of India's enormous scale will become reality during the forecast period with its OTT video market overtaking that of South Korea to become the eighth-biggest market in the world by 2023.
Currently, OTT platforms in India are not regulated by any precise regulatory framework. However, TRAI is exploring the possibility of regulating the same.