80% customers would either opt for lesser number of TV channels or switch to OTT platforms: Study

MUMBAI: A pan-India study conducted by research company Velocity MR to understand the current TV viewing, spending patterns and sentiment of consumers has thrown up some interesting findings.

The study conducted in the wake of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) new pricing regime for TV customers has revealed that 80% of customers say that they would either opt for a lesser number of channels or switch to online streaming platforms or OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime.

The national study was conducted among a sample size of 2,010 respondents and covering prominent Indian cities including Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Pune.

Another key finding of the study is that 55% of the people who favour the new regulation say that it allows them to choose the channels that they want to watch and hence the cost per channel is not an issue to them.

About 41% of the viewers claim that by the new regulation they get fewer channels for the same price they used to pay earlier, in short, the TV subscription charge has become expensive, the study noted.

The awareness level about the new regime is quite high as only 4% of consumers are not even aware of this new regulation.

The study also revealed that 54% of the viewers prefer to choose a package of channels bundled by the service provider; the remaining percentage are equally divided in the choice of paying a monthly minimum subscription cost and availing basic regional channels (Best fit plan) and paying for every channel as per the new TRAI rules.

It also noted that the average monthly spend on cable/DTH connection in top metros is Rs. 350. In the top metros, more than 60% of homes in India have a DTH connection and 40% have a cable connection.

Average time spent on watching TV/Online videos in top Indian metros is 2 hours, the study said. About 60% of consumers have a broadband internet connection at home. Airtel dominates the broadband market in India.

The study also found that more than 70% claim to watch Amazon Prime regularly (at least once a week), due to bundling offers with Amazon purchases and more Indian content, followed by Hotstar and Netflix. Netflix is known as a brand that has “Best original content.”

Commenting on the findings, Velocity MD & CEO Jasal Shah said, “The opinion on the new TRAI rules weighs slightly more to the positive side as more than 50% say that it allows them to choose the channels that they want to watch and hence the cost per channel is not an issue. But an equal majority of about 40% claim that by the new regulation they get fewer channels for the same price they had paid earlier. In other words, TV subscription costs have become expensive. Close to 5% are not even aware of this new regulation.”

He further added, “The New rule might drive consolidation in the broadcasting industry as content will be the king and critical divergence. Meanwhile, Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime and other such streaming services may be the inadvertent beneficiaries, as the move may bring in more subscribers to the OTT platforms, as the viewers could shift due to the rising subscription bills.”

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