TBI Tech & Analysis: How India’s OTT bundling will drive market growth

Rana Naidu

India’s streaming market has blossomed as the industry’s various players embrace partnerships to build their individual businesses. Omdia’s Constantinos Papavassilopoulos breaks down the strategy and explains where it’s going next.

One of the major factors contributing to the dynamic growth of the OTT video market in India is the fact that the country offers a fertile ground for the proliferation of OTT partnerships with telcos and pay-TV operators.

Omdia research shows that more than half of the country’s 73 million subscriptions in 2021 came from OTT bundling with other services.

There were more than 100 bundling deals in 2021 in India, while 2022 is tracking to reach 120 or more. India is a price-sensitive market and people were initially reluctant to spend to access content that was also offered via traditional TV.

The launch of much cheaper 4G mobile broadband packages in the country, coupled with huge investment in the production of Indian original content (in many regional languages) to be carried exclusively on the OTT platforms, has helped the growth of OTT video, as have partnerships. Shows include Netflix’s upcoming adapation of Ray Donovan, which will be known locally as Rana Naidu.

Indian telcos and pay-TV operators also saw that bundling OTT services with their own packages, tied to their own device (set-top box, streaming stick, etc.), offers the best opportunity to reduce churn, build their brand, increase monetisation and raise average revenue per user (ARPU).

Forty percent of bundle deals in India are of the device-integration type, one of the highest rates globally, precisely because of the advantages it offers.

Impact & response

Omdia estimates that between half and two-thirds of OTT subscriptions in India come through partnerships. This trend will continue to be dominant in this price-sensitive market. Device integration keeps the subscriber ‘locked’ with the telco and is the preferred type of bundling.

For OTT platforms, bundling is a very useful tool for making inroads in markets that are very price conscious and so difficult to penetrate or on which they lack intelligence. The Indian market is certainly one such market and the number of bundling deals offers proof of this.

Telcos are embracing partnership deals with OTT video platforms around the globe. This is a partnership that offers many benefits to telcos, such as churn reduction and customer retention, brand reinforcement, fending off competition, offering new monetisation opportunities and increased ARPU.

In the Indian market, all major telcos have sensibly adopted the business model of aggregator and are offering bundles of OTT services to their customers. Telcos should persist with their experiments with the option of swapping OTT video services, in most cases on a monthly basis, as a solution that can help in customer retention.

Pay-TV operators are second only to telcos in the number of bundling deals with OTT services, both in India and globally. As pay-TV operators are also launching their own OTT services, bundling deals can help to uncover the tastes and preferences of clients and can guide content investment.

Those operators in pay-TV should also seek out device-integration partnerships with OTT services. Implementing this type of partnership helps to keep the relationship with the customer and billing, while also enabling them to enhance their content offer.

The excerpt above is taken from the Omdia report ‘2023 Trends to Watch: The OTT Video and Pay-TV Market in India’ – available here. It was written by Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, principal analyst for TV & online video at Omdia, which is part of Informa, like TBI.


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