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-Mayank Gurnani

Gone are the days when the only source of entertainment for the Indian millennia was their favourite TV shows on popular youth channels like that of MTV and Channel V. Ever since the technological boom hit the Indian subcontinent, there has been a rapid and steady increase in the number of internet across the nation. India has the world’s largest youth population and comes second only to China in terms of active internet users, this potentially lead to the need for creating alternate source of entertainment online in order to engage this huge audience who sought for newer, more flexible sources of entertainment and in turn creating a giant market for both data providers and online advertisers alike.

The last half decade has perhaps brought a radical change to India’s online entertainment sector.  India, not online saw a sea change in the popularity of YouTube channels such as AIB, EIC and Y-Films, but also witnessed several telecom giants such as Sony Entertainment and Star Entertainment launch their online subsidiaries, Sony LIV and Hotstar, respectively. This move made it clear that the future of entertainment in India was for certain online. Following the surprising success of Hotstar and other platforms, it was not much later that online entertainment mega giant Netflix, announced it’s plans to expand into India, following the landmark deal of Netflix, India saw the arrival of Amazon Prime Video into the country. There are several reasons for the popularity of this immense popularity of sources of online entertainment in our country:

  • Diverse and Rich Content: Perhaps the most important factor in the rise of the popularity of these mediums in our country is the kind of content they source and create. Never in the history of country’s entertainment industry were the audience exposed to such a wide range of content options all at one place. Moreover these online platforms bought to Indian, much loved Hollywood sitcoms and movies, which weren’t so readily available to us, with the exception of dedicated Hollywood channels such as Star World. Adding to their benefit, it was both refreshing and groundbreaking to be exposed to content which not online was relatable to the Indian youth but also dealt with topics such as homosexuality and live-in relationships, which were largely left untouched before.
  • Availability and Accessibility: Unlike television or radio, online sources of entertainment are available at any point during the day. Any person can access these portals and catch up with their preferred sitcom or movie, at instance during the day. Considering the fact that every person has a different schedule they operate with, online sources provide the opportunity to the users to watch content anytime they desire. In addition to this, these portals can be accessed anywhere as long as an active internet is present allowing the viewers to view content even while on the go and not just a fixed spot unlike television.
  • Affordability: Apart from a nominal subscription fee, the online portals demand and internet connected device (which has more or less become a necessity for the India youth) in order to operate which reduces the cost drastically, by eliminating the need to buy a television and pay subsequent electricity bills.

With more and more broadcasters shifting to online mediums and many different online entertainment companies venturing into India, it is only a matter of time the online viewership surpasses it’s offline counter part.

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