The video streaming industry has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, primarily due to the dominance of the internet. In 2019, the global OTT (Over the Top) industry had a market size of $121 billion, and it is expected to experience significant growth, with projections indicating that it will reach a staggering $1,039 billion by 2027. This remarkable expansion is driven by an impressive annual growth rate of 30%. Some notable global players in this industry include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and HBO Go.
Netflix remains the leader in this field, commanding a 35% share of the global OTT streaming market. As of the third quarter of 2022, Netflix boasts approximately 223 million paid subscribers worldwide and is expected to add another 4.5 million subscribers in the fourth quarter. This is a significant improvement from the first two quarters of 2020 when Netflix experienced consecutive subscriber losses, dropping to 220.67 million.
Amazon Prime Video secures the second position with 205 million subscribers, rebounding from earlier concerns of subscriber losses. Disney+ has maintained its consistency with 164.2 million subscribers, while the combined subscriber count for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ stands at 235.7 million.
The Global OTT Boom and Evolving Consumer Tastes
While the consumption of OTT content skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, many experts anticipated a slowdown as the world returned to normal. However, recent research data suggests that the global OTT market continues to expand. The reason could be-
Diversified Content: OTT platforms have consistently celebrated their diversity compared to conventional media, providing a wide range of genres and stories that reflect various races, ethnicities, cultures, genders, and sexual orientations. This aspect has been regarded as a fundamental cornerstone of the OTT industry, with platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others making substantial investments in inclusive programming to set themselves apart from traditional broadcasters.
Ease of access: People can now enjoy uninterrupted streaming of high-resolution content in most parts of the world. There’s no need to wait for videos to download, and we are no longer tied to the fixed schedules of linear TV. Gone are the days of eagerly waiting a week for the next episode of a series or an entire month to catch a blockbuster movie on a TV channel.
Bangladesh’s OTT Revolution
The pandemic accelerated the development of the OTT industry in Bangladesh, which was still in its early stages. In a relatively brief period, numerous platforms have emerged and reemerged, shaping a constantly evolving landscape for OTT in the local market.
Established in 2013, Bongo stands as Bangladesh’s inaugural OTT video streaming platform. In Bangladesh, there exists a diverse array of OTT video platforms, which are now in a very competitive landscape.
International OTT platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu entered Bangladesh long before. Netflix, the global OTT video streaming leader, launched its services in Bangladesh in 2016. With an estimated nearly 200,000 active subscribers in the country, Netflix has reportedly generated around $21.6 million in revenue from Bangladeshi subscribers. Bangladeshi OTT companies with foreign roots, such as Hoichoi, have gained 500,000 subscribers with various mobile and internet banking packages, making significant investments. Chorki, Bioscope, and Bongo, are some of the truly Bangladeshi service providers, which both originate and operate within Bangladesh. Bongo BD, with 4.3 million subscribers, earned recognition as the “Most Popular Streaming Platform in Bangladesh.” In the year 2020 alone, they acquired licenses and produced an impressive 221 hours of content for their platform.
How Consumer Preferences Boosts Bangladeshi OTT Platforms
Addressing Stigma and Raising Awareness: Bangladesh OTT platforms have actively tackled sensitive issues and social stigmas that resonate with the local population. By creating content that educates and raises awareness on topics such as mental health, gender equality, and cultural taboos, these platforms have become a valuable resource for initiating important conversations. This approach not only connects with viewers on a personal level but also contributes to breaking down societal barriers.
Timely and Relevant Content: OTT platforms in Bangladesh have demonstrated their agility by producing timely and relevant content that addresses pressing issues. The COVID-19 pandemic is a prime example, with platforms quickly producing content that informed viewers about safety measures, vaccination, and pandemic-related challenges. By staying ahead of the curve and addressing trending topics, they have kept viewers engaged and informed.
Catering to Local Tastes and Diverse Cultures: Conscious audiences now love all kinds of good content. It is because they now want to see good and authentic stories which reflect the lives and struggles of a certain demography.Hoichoi have produced “Taqdeer” and “Mohanagar,” two of the most highly praised web series in recent times. These gained attention for their unique storyline and quality of making. Another notable thriller series from Hoichoi is “Karagar” featuring renowned artists. Even the popularity of this Bangladeshi series spread beyond the country to India. Chorki, which was launched in July 2021, has been consistently delivering fresh content to its audience. Every month, the platform releases a new film and two original productions, including premium content. They have successfully produced some of the most buzzed-about web projects from the past year. Notable among them are Mizanur Rahman Aryan’s romantic drama, “Networker Baire,” and Adnan Al Rajeev’s dark comedy, “YouTumor,” both of which were released on Chorki and received widespread appreciation from viewers.
Introduction to dynamic genre: “Pett Kata Shaw”, the series, directed by Nuhash Humayun, was the first ever horror content from Bangladesh, based on folk tales from various regions of the country. The anthology series was released on the popular OTT platform Chorki. The series achieved international recognition by being selected for its official premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2023.
Affordability and Flexible Payment Models: Modern OTT platforms have enhanced user convenience by introducing diverse payment gateways for subscriptions. It certainly has allowed easy access to these platforms. Bioscope offers a 3-day subscription plan at a cost of BDT 9. Meanwhile, Bongo provides multiple subscription options, including weekly, monthly, and yearly plans priced at BDT 26.65, BDT 66.62, and BDT 400, respectively. Additionally, Bongo subscribers have the added benefit of downloading content from the platform’s library for offline viewing on the app.
Content catered to diverse socio-economic class : Apart from the Bangla contents, these platforms are also broadcasting international contents from K-dramas to Malayalam movies, and even Turkish serials and Iranian films. With Bangla dubbing and subtitles these good contents can reach people from diverse socio-economic classes.
To conclude, the global OTT industry has witnessed explosive growth driven by evolving consumer preferences for diverse and accessible content. Bangladesh’s own OTT revolution, accelerated by the pandemic, has resulted in a competitive landscape with both international and domestic players. These platforms are not only catering to local audiences but also expanding their reach by offering quality content in various genres and languages. With user-friendly payment options and an extensive library of content, they are making OTT entertainment more accessible than ever, transcending socio-economic boundaries. This transformation underscores the powerful impact of changing consumer tastes in shaping the future of the OTT industry.