OTT (Over the Top) media services which offer direct streaming services to viewers, have been gaining popularity worldwide. Some of the frontrunners of such services are Netflix and Amazon Prime, which remain popular worldwide. However, the scenario is quite different when it comes to the Indian OTT industry. According to a report released by Counterpoint Research in April 2018, the Indian streaming platform Hotstar is the most popular OTT platform in India. Hotstar is closely followed by Amazon’s Prime Video and SonyLIV, while Netflix ranks 4th.
The popularity of OTT platforms is slowly rising with the increase of local OTT platforms like ALTBalaji, Voot and SonyLIV, which are giving direct competition to foreign platforms like Prime Video and Netflix. Recently, the popular food delivery app Zomato also joined the OTT industry with the introduction of its Zomato Originals. The main reason behind so many new OTT platforms coming to the market is the increasing profits generated by such platforms in India.
The video OTT revenue in India was Rs. 2,019 crores in 2017. It is expected to reach Rs. 5,955 crores by 2022. With 500 million internet users, another number which is growing steadily at the rate of 8 percent, India has become the number one market for media and entertainment sector. It is also reported that the Indian OTT market is set to outperform the global OTT market and will likely be ranked among the top 10 by 2022.
With so many options, the competition between the various platforms has also grown. The platforms are investing in originals produced by the platform itself in order to attract audiences. The success of Netflix’s Sacred Games and Ghoul, Prime Video’s The Family Man and Hotstar’s AIB On Air and Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai proved original series are a working formula. With Indian audiences looking for good original content, the platforms are taking full advantage in order to increase their revenue.
Another factor contributing to the popularity of certain platforms is the pricing of these OTT platforms. The prices play a really important role as many local OTT platforms provide the majority of their content free of cost, while international platforms like Netflix and Prime Video have a process of monthly or annual subscription in order to let the users access their content. This is a major reason behind the popularity of local OTT platforms.
With the explosion of OTT platforms in recent years and with the availability of affordable data, the consumption of digital media has also increased. It will be interesting to see what kind of strategies these OTT platforms will follow in order to attract more audiences to their channels.
Uber Rides Are Going To Be Changed Forever In The Foreseeable Future Because Of COVID-19
The world has changed so much in just two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic which spread across the world. The virus, which is highly infectious, currently has no vaccine and most optimistic estimates peg the chance of a vaccine being discovered, at one year away. So governments across the world quarantined entire countries by imposing lockdowns and not letting anyone come out of their homes. This was done as a measure to break the chain of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Needless to say, this has disrupted multiple industries with airlines, travel, transportation, hospitality and the event industry bearing the brunt of it.
Swiggy and Zomato, both of which are food delivery applications, have implemented a no-contact delivery where a delivery partner will leave the package at the door and leave. Swiggy and Zomato went further so as to certify restaurants which sanitize their kitchens regularly and show them on their app for their customers.
Ride hailing companies like Uber and Ola have not seen any business in the last two months in India and have no clarity on when the government would deem it safe for cab services to resume. However, there can be no denying that your next Uber ride is going to be completely different to how it was before the pandemic affected countries. Uber in particular is already making changes to how it operates by predicting consumer behaviour in light of the COVID-19 virus.
These are some of the changes Uber is going to make to their operations.
- Uber is making face masks mandatory for both drivers and passengers during their rides.
- A driver partner will not be able to log in to their account and accept rides until they upload a selfie of themselves with a face mask. The app will detect the face mask as an object and gives access to the driver partner to accept rides.
- Riders must agree to sit in the rear seats and must agree to keep the windows open at all times for ventilation.
- Only three passengers are allowed in a single cab per ride. It used to be four passengers before the lockdown.
- Both riders and drivers can cancel the trip if they do not feel safe without any penalty.
- Uber would be spending $ 50 million globally to buy personal protective equipment (PPEs) for drivers including sanitisers, masks and disinfectant wipes.
Uber is just one of the companies that is trying to adapt to the changes in consumer behavior which is bound to change after the lockdowns are lifted and life returns to normalcy. We will have to wait and watch as to how other industries adapt to these changes in the future.
Facebook Finally Launches Messenger Rooms Which Accommodates 50 People And Unlimited Video Calls
The lockdown and quarantine measures implemented in multiple countries meant that people could not commute to work or go outside for social gatherings. This scenario hugely benefited video calling and conferencing platforms and applications. Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts and Houseparty have seen a phenomenal spike in daily active users. Facebook has joined the club by finally upgrading its messenger capabilities.
Facebook Messenger is a chatting and video calling application developed by Facebook. Facebook is finally introducing a new feature in messenger named Messenger Rooms. The free feature will allow Facebook and Messenger users to create group video calls of up to 50 people, contrary to the eight people limit available currently. The Messenger Room does not require a Facebook account and works similar to the Zoom meeting rooms. Participants can join the room by clicking on a link.
The rooms do not have any time limit which lets people converse indefinitely. There are a slew of other features like augmented reality filters, normal filters, virtual masks and a feature to lock the rooms. Facebook also announced that it is doubling WhatsApp’s video call person limit from four to eight people as well. However the Messenger Rooms feature is not immediately available and Facebook will roll the feature out slowly in all the regions it operates.
In a company blog post,Facebook said that 700 million accounts participate in calls everyday between Facebook and WhatsApp. Once Facebook announced this news, shares of the video calling company Zoom fell down by 5%.
How Social Networking App Houseparty Is Entertaining Generations During Quarantine Lockdowns
Humans are social creatures by nature and the lockdowns implemented in multiple countries across the globe has starved them of the social company that many people crave and Houseparty managed to fill that void by letting people socialise on its platform. The fun app is a social networking application which lets users gather around in a virtual conference call in order to socialise. Houseparty currently has over 10 million downloads on Google Play Store and even more on Apple Store (Apple would not divulge the exact number.) This app went on to beat every other social networking app and sits at first place on the Apple Store in 17 countries, including Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. According to Apptopia, which tracks the performance of apps, Houseparty is currently the third most downloaded app on the iOS app store in the United States, behind Zoom and TikTok and comes top in the United Kingdom. As millions of people around the world are confined to their homes, the socialising app quickly became the go-to app for Gen-Z and millennials beating the likes of Skype, Zoom and Hangouts. This is because of the in app games that users can play while catching up with each other.
Some companies have even hosted ‘virtual happy hours’ and friends are catching up for some simple dinner and drinks albeit virtually. The app lets a maximum of 8 users to get in a single group and users can play games while video conferencing. Games include quizzes, trivia and a game similar to pictionary.
Houseparty is owned by Epic Games, the developers of the popular battle royale online multiplayer game Fortnite. This pp largely works on social spontaneity and live conversations. For example, when a user is online, his/her friends receive a push notification that they are “in the house”, the recipient may be prompted to join. Users can also enter friends’ conversations without their permission, unless they have specifically chosen to ‘lock’ their room by pressing the padlock button on the room screen.
Houseparty was downloaded 570,000 in January and 533,000 times in February. When it comes to revenue, Houseparty jumped from $17,000 in February to $155,000 in March, representing an enormous leap of 912 per cent in user spending according to a mobile app marketing firm Sensor Tower.
However, the social networking app found itself in the middle of unwanted publicity when questions about its security popped up with concerns for user data. Houseparty iterated that user data was safe and not sabotaged. Houseparty believes that the bad publicity was part of a paid smear campaign to spoil its reputation and has in fact offered a bounty of 1 million dollars to anyone who can prove that it was the target of a paid commercial smear campaign.
We are investigating indications that the recent hacking rumors were spread by a paid commercial smear campaign to harm Houseparty. We are offering a $1,000,000 bounty for the first individual to provide proof of such a campaign to [email protected]
— Houseparty (@houseparty) March 31, 2020
Houseparty managed to thrive during this period when multiple countries worldwide are in an unprecedented quarantine lockdown. This has affected businesses and corporations badly and experts have forecasted an economic depression which would follow once the threat of COVID-19 passes. However, Houseparty is a unique app which is managing to thrive in this uncertain times
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