OTT platforms are capturing the Indian markets. But what is an OTT platform? What’s media streaming and who are the top OTT service providers in India? If you wanted to know about this then this blog will answer all your questions and more.
Blog read time: 10.10 mins
In this blog, you will find:
– What are OTT platforms and what does it mean?
– Listing of the top OTT platform service providers in India.
– Review of the best 5 OTT platforms in India.
– What caused the rise of video streaming services in 2020?
– My recommendations on the best movies and TV series available on each video streaming services.
Finally, what 2021 has in store for these video streaming OTT platforms? My thoughts and suggestions.
Table of contents:
- 1.OTT Platforms
- 2.List of OTT platforms (with content language) in India
- 3.Review: The best 5 OTT platforms/streaming services in India
- 4.Compare: the top 3 OTT platforms/video-streaming services in India
- 5.Top 5 pros and cons of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms
- 6.Movies: Top movie recommendations on each of the OTT platforms for you
- 7.TV Series: Binge-worthy best TV Series on each of the OTT platforms for you
- 8.Hidden gems: The best movies that no one is talking about
- 9.Are there any OTT Platforms for watching regional content?
- 10.What are the upcoming movies and TV series that would stream on OTT platforms?
- 11.The complete winners’ list of Filmfare OTT awards 2020
The year 2020 saw the rise of OTT platforms’ viewership. There are now 40+ OTT service providers in India. It’s a ₹50 billion industry.
1.1.What is the full form of OTT and what does the OTT platform mean?
The full form of OTT is “Over-The-Top”. So O.T.T. an abbreviation for the “Over The Top” service. Its meant to be a service that streams media/audios/videos directly to viewers over the internet. A good example is the “Video On Demand” (VOD) service. Where you pay a subscription and get to watch the available videos on a mobile, tablet, laptop, computer, and TV. Hence giving you the flexibility of watching it anywhere anytime.
OTT platforms are majorly divided into:
- Advertising video on demand (AVOD)
- Subscription video on demand (SVOD)
- Freemium & transactional video on demand (TVOD)
In 2021 subscription-based market (SVOD) continued to grow significantly. This OTT type is the focus of this article.
Youtube is also an OTT platform. Its the biggest OTT platform in India. We’re not considering it for this post because it would be a separate blog in itself. Everyone already knows about it.
1.2.How are the OTT platforms different from cable and tv services?
The main difference is that you can choose what to watch and when to watch. Another huge advantage is you can pause and play. Following are other comparisons between OTT and cable/TV service.
|OTT service||Cable/TV service|
|Requires an internet connection.||Requires either a cable, dish, set-top-box.|
|You can choose what to watch and when to watch.||It has fixed programs running at fixed times on fixed channels|
|You can pause and play.||No such option.|
|Higher ROI thus costing less.||Lower ROI thus costing more.|
|You can binge-watch an entire web/TV series in one go.||TV episodes are available as per scheduled time.|
|There are no device type restrictions. Most modern devices support OTT.||Works only with TV.|
1.3.How did the OTT Platforms start in India?
In 2008, Reliance Entertainment started BIGFlix. Hence beginning the journey of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms in India. The nexGTv in 2010 was the first mobile app. It started streaming live TV and on-demand services in India.
Did you know: Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 were the first cricket matches to be live-streamed on OTT platform.
1.4.What effect did lockdown have on OTT platforms, especially video-on-demand services?
Lockdown is an emergency protocol that prohibits people from leaving a specified area. The Covid-19 pandemic has gripped the world since 2020. So to stop the human-to-human spread many countries went into lockdown. India also asked its citizen to stay-at-home.
With nothing much to do at home, the usage of OTT started growing. Especially in metro cities, where the internet infrastructure was already in place. The speed and cost of internet plans gave a major boost to usage. Airtel, Reliance Jio, BSNL, Vodafone, etc made internet and thereby making the OTT platforms more accessible to the general public.
Usage statistics for 2020:
– The 5 metro cities account for 60% of OTT usage.
– Indians under the age of 35 years account for 90% usage.
– Males account for 80% usage.
Due to lockdown, the movie theatres were also closed. Filming of movies and TV series had also stopped. Thus making OTT platforms as the only option available for watching the content of our choice. Also the huge collection of movies and tv/web series makes it an irresistible option.
OTT made binge-watching possible
Binge-watching means watching several episodes of a TV series back-to-back. It’s also called as binge-viewing or marathon-viewing. With cable/TV, it was not possible because an episode of a TV series releases once every week. OTT platforms release the entire TV series’ season, containing all the episodes, in one shot. Hence binge-watching became a possibility.
I have watched the entire seasons of Mirzapur, Family Man, Stranger Things, Money Heist, etc in one sitting. After every marathon-viewing, I have always told myself that I won’t do it again. “It’s not a good habit”, “It’s such a big waste of time”, “I should sleep by 11 pm”, etc.
Then Mirzapur season 2 came and I binged it. Started at 9 pm and finished it at 6 am. I am embarrassed but I loved it and have promised not to binge-watch again. If you use OTT then I m sure you know exactly what I mean. If you have just started or planning to start, then you’ll know very soon. 🙂
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is a content streaming device which lets you access OTT Platforms on your TV. Thus converting your normal TV to a Smart TV.
NOTE: All majority TV supports this device but still check if the device control features of Fire TV Stick are compatible with your TV or sound equipment.
2.List of OTT platforms (with content language) in India
Following are the most famous OTT platforms currently in India.
|OTT Platform||Content languages|
|ALTBalaji||Hindi, Telugu, Tamil|
|Amazon Prime Video||Marathi, English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali|
|Asianet Mobile TV||Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi|
|BIGFlix||Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali|
|Disney+ Hotstar||Hindi, English, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Marathi|
|Eros Now||Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi|
|Hungama Play||Hindi, English, Telugu, Tamil|
|JioCinema||English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Punjabi, Gujarati|
|Joy Tv||English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Punjabi, Gujarati|
|MX Player||Marathi,Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali,Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Odia, Gujarati, English|
|Netflix||English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada|
|ShemarooMe||Hindi, Telugu, Gujarati|
|SonyLIV||Hindi, English, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi|
|Spuul||Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, English|
|Sun NXT||Tamil,Telugu,Kannada, malayalam, Bengali,(Marathi coming soon)|
|Ullu App||Hindi, Telugu|
|Viu||Hindi, Telugu, Tamil|
|Voot||English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali,|
|Vuclip||Hindi, Telugu, Tamil|
|YuppTV||Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada|
|Zee5||Marathi, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Odia, Gujarati, English|
3.Review: The best 5 OTT platforms/streaming services in India
There are 40+ OTT video-on-demand platforms providing video streaming services in India. Following are the top 5 OTT Platforms/video-streaming services in India. They are the industry leaders in India. This is a quick review of the services and features that each one of them provides.
3.1.Hotstar (now Disney+ Hotstar)
Hotstar launched in 2015. Star India owns Hotstar. It is the most dominant video streaming service in India. It has more than 300 million active subscribers.
In 2019, The Walt Disney Company acquired its US parent company 21st Century Fox. Since April 2020 Disney+Hotstar came into existence.
Cricket world cup (2015), Game of Thrones series (2016) and Indian Premier League (2019) live streaming gave it the major viewership share.
Disney+ Hotstar subscription cost
Subscription pricing for VIP plan is ₹399/year and for Premium plan is ₹299/month or ₹1,499/year.
Benefits available with Disney+ Hotstar subscription
With VIP plan you get the following:
- HD quality streaming.
- Disney+ movies, Marvel superhero movies and kids show. All in dubbed language.
- 1 screen to watch on.
- Content has ads.
- No Disney+ originals.
With Premium plan you get the following:
- FHD quality streaming.
- All English and dubbed movies.
- Ad-free content.
- 2 screens to watch on.
- Disney+ originals.
Languages available in Disney+ Hotstar
The content is available in the following languages Marathi, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, English and Indonesian.
Link to Disney+ Hotstar subscription
3.2.Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video or Prime video came to India in 2016. It started in the United States in 2006. Amazon Inc owns it. It is available in many countries like US, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada, etc.
It has a huge library of movies and TV series. The company also produces original content like Family Man, Mirzapur, etc.
Amazon Prime is the second most subscribed program in India. It has a low cost and provides good quality content.
It also has many famous old TV shows like Seinfeld, The Big Band Theory, The Office, etc.
Amazon Prime Video subscription cost
Subscription pricing is ₹129/month or ₹999/year.
Benefits available with Amazon Prime Video subscription
- Unlimited free and fast delivery on Amazon Store.
- Ad-free music on Prime Music.
- Watch movies and TV series on Prime Video.
- Read ebooks and comics on Prime Reading.
- Enjoy free in-game content available on Gaming with Prime.
Languages available in Amazon Prime Video
The content is available in the following languages Marathi, English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Punjabi, and Gujarati.
Link to Amazon Prime Video subscription
Click on the banner
Netflix Inc is the parent company. It launched Netflix in the US in 1997. In 2016, Netflix launched its video streaming service in India. It is also available in many countries like US, UK, Germany, France, Australia, etc.
They are famous for their Netflix Original content production. They have created high budget TV shows and movies. Following are some examples of original content is House of Cards, Money Heist, The Crown, Peaky Blinders, Sacred Games and many others.
It has the most expensive membership of all the services. It has less number of members but has the highest watch time. This means that it has the best content but is expensive for many.
Netflix subscription cost
Subscription pricing is between ₹199/month to ₹799/month depending on the plan type you buy.
- The mobile-only plan is ₹199/month
- The basic plan is ₹499/month
- The standard plan is ₹649/month
- The premium plan is ₹799/month.
Benefits available with Netflix subscription
Following is the difference between the plans
- Mobile-only plan: you can watch only on 1 mobile at-a-time at 480p resolution.
- Basic plan: you can watch on 1 device at-a-time at 480p resolution.
- Standard plan: you can watch on 2 devices at-a-time at 1080p resolution.
- Premium plan: you can watch on 4 devices at-a-time at 4K+HDR resolution.
Languages available in Netflix
The content is available in the following languages English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, and Kannada.
Link to Netflix subscription
In 2013, Zee entertainment launched its OTT platform DittoTV. DittoTV was an aggregator service which contained shows from across all media channels. Shows from Star, Sony, Zee, etc were available in it.
In 2018, DittoTV was dissolved and Zee5 came into being.
It has 1000+ movies and 100+ live TV channels.
Zee5 subscription cost
The Premium (All Access) subscription pricing is ₹99 for 1 month, ₹299 for 3 months, ₹599 for 6 months, and ₹999 for 1 year.
The Zee5 Club subscription pricing is ₹365 for 1 year. It gives you partial access to Zee5 and ALT Balaji’s content.
Benefits available with Zee5 subscription
You would get the following benefits:
- Latest TV shows from ZEE before the telecast
- Zindagi TV shows
- Zee5 originals
- ALT Balaji shows
- 1000+ movies
- Stream on 5 devices at-a-time.
Languages available in Zee5
The content is available in the following languages Marathi, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Odia, Gujarati, English
Link to Zee5 subscription
In 2013, Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd launched its OTT platform SonyLIV. It has more than 700+ movies and many TV shows.
It also produces original content like Lovebytes, Married Women Diaries, etc.
SonyLIV subscription cost
Its LIV Premium plan costs ₹299 for 1 month, ₹699 for 6 months, and ₹999 for 1 year.
Benefits available with SonyLIV subscription
You would get the following benefits:
- Latest international shows.
- All live sports and TV channels.
- All LIV special+ & KBC PlayAlong gold.
- Sony and SAB show on TV time.
- Can be watched on 2 devices at-a-time.
Languages available in SonyLIV
The content is available in the following languages Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, and Punjabi.
Link to SonyLIV subscription
Gaana, JioSaavn, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, Wynk Music, Google Play, Spotify and Hungama Music are some of the major OTT audio platforms in India.
4.Compare: the top 3 OTT platforms/video-streaming services in India
Following is a quick comparison of the top 3 OTT platforms/video-streaming services in India.
- Price: ₹1,499/year.
- Devices at-a-time: 2 devices.
- Resolution: 1080p
- Top Pro: All Marvel superhero and kids content from Disney+ are available on it.
- Top Con: Needs more original content.
- Price: ₹999/year.
- Devices at-a-time: 3 devices.
- Resolution: 1080p
- Top Pro: Best original Indian movies and TV series.
- Top Con: Not that much variety.
- Price: ₹799/month.
- Devices at-a-time: 4 devices.
- Resolution: 4K
- Top Pro: Best original movies and TV series.
- Top Con: Very expensive.
Want to know which OTT platform I prefer? Find it in the concluding section.
5.Top 5 pros and cons of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms
It’s a great tool of the modern days but only if enjoyed responsibly.
Following are some Pros and Cons of the OTT Platforms.
- You can choose what to watch.
- You can choose when to watch. Pause and play as per your convenience.
- Quality of content is better.
- International and regional language content is available.
- Almost all devices can stream the media. You can consume it anywhere.
- Don’t binge-watch, it is harmful to health.
- Don’t get addicted. Enjoy it responsibly.
- With limited censorship on OTT platform content, put parental control on what kids are watching.
- Internet consumption goes up.
- With too many choices you don’t know what to watch. More time gets wasted in choosing what to watch.
6.Movies: Top movie recommendations on each of the OTT platforms for you
Following is my list/recommendation of must-watch movies. If you have not watched them then I highly recommend them. These are the best movies available only on these video-on-demand services. Watch them before they go away from these OTT platforms.
Disney+ Hotstar top 5 movies
- Lootcase (Comedy/Drama) (Hindi)
- Bangalore days (Romance/Drama) (Malayalam)
- Jojo Rabbit (War/Dark comedy) (English)
- Ford v Ferrari (Sport/Drama) (English)
- Chhichhore (Comedy/Drama) (Hindi)
Amazon Prime top 5 movies
- Mardaani 2 (Action/Drama) (Hindi)
- Hit (Thriller/Mystery) (Telugu)
- Thappad (Drama) (Hindi)
- Kesari (War/Action) (Hindi)
- Trance (Drama/Action) (Malayalam)
Netflix top 5 movies
- Nightcrawler (Thriller/Crime) (English)
- Udaan (Drama) (Hindi)
- Super Deluxe (Drama/ Dark comedy) (Tamil)
- Harishchandrani factory (Drama/Comedy) (Marathi)
- Uyare (Drama) (Malayalam)
Zee5 top 4 movies
- Tigers (Drama/Thriller) (Hindi)
- Chintu ka Birthday (Drama) (Hindi)
- Hotel Mumbai (Drama/Action- Thriller) (English)
- Barot House (Suspense/Thriller) (Hindi)
SonyLIV top 4 movies
- Kadakh (Comedy) (Hindi)
- Piku (Comedy) (Hindi)
- Devdas (Drama) (Hindi)
- Golmal (Comedy) (Hindi)
Did you know: Movies and TV series are not permanent on the OTT platforms. Most of them are but many come and go. So be sure to watch them when they are available on your video streaming platform.
7.TV Series: Binge-worthy best TV Series on each of the OTT platforms for you
Following is my list of must-watch TV series on each of the OTT platforms. If you have not watched them then I highly recommend them.
Disney+ Hotstar top TV series
- Special Ops (Action) (Hindi)
- Criminal Justice (Crime) (Hindi)
Amazon Prime top TV series
- The Family Man (Action/Drama) (Hindi)
- Mirzapur (Crime) (Hindi)
- Panchayat (Comedy/Drama) (Hindi)
- Made in Heaven (Drama)(Hindi)
- Breathe (Drama) (Hindi)
- Seinfeld (Comedy) (English)
- The Office (Comedy) (English)
Netflix top TV series
- Selection Day (Sports/Drama) (Hindi)
- Delhi Crime (Crime/Drama) (Hindi)
- Breaking Bad (Crime) (English)
- Masaba Masaba (Comedy/Drama) (Hindi)
- The Crown (Drama) (English)
- Black Mirror (Sci-Fi/Thriller) (English)
- Mind Hunter (Thriller) (English)
Zee5 top TV series
- Rangbaaz Season 1 (Action) (Hindi)
- The verdict: State vs Nanavati (Crime) (Hindi)
- State of Siege 26/11 (Action) (Hindi)
SonyLIV top TV series
- Gullak (Comedy/Drama) (Hindi)
- Scam 1992 (Crime/Drama) (Hindi)
ALTBalaji top TV series
- Home (Drama) (Hindi)
- Bose: Dead/ Alive (Mystery) (Hindi)
- The Dysfunctional Family (Comedy/Drama) (Hindi)
- Romil and Jugal (Romantic/Drama) (Hindi)
MX player top TV series
- Thinkistaan (Drama) (Hindi)
- I’m Mature (Teenage/Drama) (Hindi)
Did you know: During the pandemic, the usage of OTT platforms increased exponentially. To meet the increasing demand and reduce internet congestion all OTT platforms switched to SD resolution.
Hotstar, SonyLIV, ALTBalaji, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Zee5 had unanimously decided to temporarily cut down high definition (HD) picture quality (1080p & 720p) bitrate to standard definition (SD) picture quality (480p).
8.Hidden gems: The best movies that no one is talking about
In the glow and shine of famous movies, some hidden gems get missed out. When you happen to come across these kinds by chance, its a fabulous feeling.
Following are some of the hidden gems that I found about which no one talks about:
- Helen on Netflix (Malayalam)
- Aankhon Dekhi on Netflix (Hindi)
- Brahman Naman on Netflix (English)
- Do Dooni Chaar on Netflix (Hindi)
9.Are there any OTT Platforms for watching regional content?
Most of the OTT platforms serve English and Hindi content. There are regional language content also available and they are increasing everyday..
Following are some of the famous regional OTT platforms:
- Aha Video (Telugu)
- Hoichoi (Bengali)
- Manorma Max (Malayalam)
- BS Value (Tamil)
Check in this list of OTT platforms with content language available. If your favourite platform is not listed then let us know in the comment section and we can add it to the list.
Amazon’s Audible is another great OTT platform for listening to your favourite books. Read more about Audible here.
10.What are the upcoming movies and TV series that would stream on OTT platforms?
The year 2020 saw many new movies and TV series being released on OTT platforms directly. With the exponential growth of the audience for OTT platforms, the year 2021 will be an exciting year.
- Coming 2 America (Netflix) (English)
- Silence: Can You Hear It (Zee5) (Hindi)
- Bombay Rose (Netflix) (Hindi)
- Bhuj: The pride of India (Disney+ Hotstar) (Hindi)
- The Big Bull (Disney+ Hotstar) (Hindi)
- Bombay Begums (Netflix) (Hindi)
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+ Hotstar) (English)
- Invincible (Amazon Prime) (English)
- The Irregulars (Netflix) (English)
- The Family Man Season 2 (Amazon Prime) (Hindi)
11.The complete winners’ list of Filmfare OTT awards 2020
The first Filmfare OTT awards 2020 was announced on 19/Dec/2020.
Amazon Originals – Paatal Lok and The Family Man, were the BIG winners in Filmfare OTT awards 2020.
Following is the complete list of all winners in various categories
- Best Film (Web Original): Raat Akeli Hai
- Best Non-Fiction Original (Series/Special): Times of Music
- Best Series: Paatal Lok
- The Best Comedy (Series/Specials): Panchayat
- Best Director: Avinash Arun and Prosit Roy (Paatal Lok)
- Best Series: The Family Man
- Best Director: Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru (The Family Man)
- Best Male Actor: Jaideep Ahlawat (Paatal Lok)
- Best Female Actor: Sushmita Sen (Aarya)
Drama Series (Critics)
- Best Male Actor: Manoj Bajpayee (The Family Man)
- Best Female Actor: Priyamani (The Family Man)
- Best Male Actor: Jitendra Kumar (Panchayat)
- Best Female Actor: Mithila Palkar (Little Things Season 3)
Comedy Series (Critics)
- Best Male Actor: Dhruv Sehgal (Little Things Season 3)
- Best Female Actor: Sumukhi Suresh (Pushpavali Season 2)
Supporting Role in a Drama Series
- Best Male Actor: Amit Sadh (Breathe: Into The Shadows)
- Best Female Actor: Divya Dutta (Special OPS)
Supporting Role in a Comedy Series
- Best Male Actor: Raghubir Yadav (Panchayat)
- Best Female Actor: Neena Gupta (Panchayat)
I remember the days when I was a kid and used to watch programs on TV. They were mostly cartoons on Cartoon Network. I knew the time when my favourite programs used to start and I planned my schoolwork around that. So that I don’t miss my favourite shows.
But now I have the control, I can watch what I want and when I want. The quality of content on these OTT platforms is also getting better. It is like the home delivery of your favourite movies and TV shows. Variety of content has definitely increased my outlook in life. Today I know more about various cultures of the world. All thanks to these OTT platforms that are bringing in the world to my home.
It is also much more cost-effective than going to multiplexes. We make it a complete family affair. We all watch some of the movies together. It can’t replace the experience of a movie theatre but is better than cable TV.
OTT platforms are on the cusp of disrupting the status of cable and TV channels. By 2025, they would overtake all media platforms. As the internet reaches tier II+ cities the growth of Over-The-Top platforms will multiply.
What should you choose
- Amazon Prime Video: If you’re just starting and budget is tight then go for Amazon Prime Video, it has the highest return-on-investment (ROI). The total features and services that you get for the price are tremendous.
- Disney+ Hotstar: If you have kids or are a Marvel superhero movies fan, then nothing is better than Disney+ Hotstar. News, sports and TV soaps are also available. Especially with their planned shows coming in 2021. You just cannot miss it.
- Netflix: If you want quality then go for Netflix. It has the best movies and shows. Their interface and service are also user-friendly.
What’s my pick
Well, I have subscriptions to all 3. I know, I am rich! 🙂 I live in a joint family and together we have subscriptions to all 3. This would be a more correct statement.
Out of all 3, my favourite is Netflix. It has the best interface, it’s so convenient. The Netflix Originals are the best. They are getting better with Hindi content also. I have never faced any lag or speed issue with it.
The year 2021 would be great with the lineup that all the OTT platforms have planned. I am excited about it.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.