Hoichoi, aha and Planet Marathi - regional OTTs challenging Netflix, Prime and Hotstar

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Hoichoi, aha and Planet Marathi - regional OTTs challenging Netflix, Prime and Hotstar
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  • After the pandemic, many of us were stuck within the four walls of our houses and OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar sometimes became the only source of entertainment in our lives.
  • The pandemic also gave a push to the regional OTT industry and saw the birth of native language streaming players like Hoichoi, aha, Sun NXT, Planet Marathi, Koode, and City Short TV.
  • As per experts, the regional OTT players have already captured 50% of the OTT market in less than 3-4 years.
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Kaiser, the homicide detective who tries to deal with double murders and his own demons side by side; then there is Three Roses – with young girls who are in the middle of to-be-married mess in the complex Indian juxtaposition of tradition and independence.

Yes, you have guessed it right. They are all topics of superhit web series but you can’t find them on Netflix, Prime or even Disney Hotstar – they are from Hoichoi, Bengali OTT and aha, a Telugu and Tamil OTT, respectively.

Apart from regional cinema taking over Bollywood, a silent revolution is underway where regional OTTs are taking away the eyeballs of Indians – by offering them quality content in their mother tongue. And, there are a lot of these.

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Of the total 60 OTT platforms in India, around 12 of them are exclusively regional across languages like — Sun NXT, Planet Marathi, Koode, and City Short TV, which is a hyperlocal content OTT.

One movie, every week

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According to a FICCI-EY report, the share of regional language consumption on OTT platforms will cross 50% by 2025 from the 30% share it held in 2019. As per FICCI-EY though, regional consumption is expected to surpass Hindi, which is predicted to touch a 45% consumption rate.

But a few players are confident that it has already hit this number.

“The regional OTT market today probably is 50% already of the total OTT market size in India, including all regional languages. It is set to grow faster than Hindi for sure,” Ajit Thakur, CEO of Telugu and Tamil OTT platform aha told Business Insider India.

The OTT, which is adding one movie every week, has touched 10 million monthly active users (Maus) in two years. Its app saw 30 million downloads. It has also generated $2 million in non-subscription revenue in the last six months and is considering adding gaming onto its platform and becoming a super app.

Aha also intends to target Tamil-speaking viewers as well after winning the hearts of the people who speak the fourth most spoken language in India and also one of the top 10 fastest-growing languages in America.

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The magic price point

Apart from the content, the price points of these OTTs are attractive too — as it’s akin to subscribing for a regional TV channel pack as opposed to the full range with all genres and offerings across languages – like Netflix, Prime, Disney Hotstar or even Zee.

Hoichoi however has ‘eased’ its subscription with a syndication deal with mainstream OTT players such as MX Player and Amazon Prime. Hoichoi, one of the earliest regional OTT platforms to launch in India, is trying to capture the 250 million Bengali speakers across the world.

“The generic OTT market has grown at least 30-50% over the year and we've all outpaced that industry by a fair margin. We've got about 120 odd shows, in addition to about 600-700 movies. In fact, April, May and June were bigger than COVID months for us,” Vishnu Mohta, co-founder of the Bengali streaming platform told Business Insider India.

Its extensive content library remains unmatched in the OTT universe. But Mohta says that it’s just ‘getting started’. “I see a stable growth trajectory for the next five years,” he said – which is much higher than the growth in ‘national’ OTTs.

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OTT platformPlanPrice
NetflixAnnual mobile₹1788
Amazon Prime VideoAnnual₹1499
ahaAnnual₹299
HoichoiAnnual₹999
Planet MarathiAnnual₹365

Trending across 7 countries

Planet Marathi was a pandemic baby as it was launched during the lockdown. As the name suggests it caters to Marathi-speaking audiences India and abroad.
Hoichoi, aha and Planet Marathi - regional OTTs challenging Netflix, Prime and Hotstar
Planet Marathi

It already has a superhit web show to its name – Raanbaazaar, which delves into the murky world of politics and two escorts and the mindgame involved. The show became the most-watched Marathi series on OTT and trended across seven countries – thanks to the state’s extensive expat population.

“We launched 13 Planet Marathi originals and have another 24 planned out over the next year. Our viewership comes from India and across the world. There has been an increase in the stickiness of the content, with time spent by users increasing almost 350% after Raanbaazaar’s release,” said Akshay Bardapurkar, founder of Planet Marathi.

In the meanwhile, top OTTs haven’t been ignoring these viewers either. In fact most of them release regional movies and shows with audio and subtitle options – thereby ‘extending’ the reach of regional content to non-regional players as well.
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The best example in this list is the recently launched Modern Love Hyderabad which has an original Telugu show dubbed across five languages including Hindi and English, for those who want to catch the flavour of the show in their own language.

ZEE5 too has tripled its investment into regional content this year and international player Netflix is also looking to deeper inroads in India by zooming in on regional market — but whether they would be able to win the war in every regional turf across India is left to be seen – as India has 121 official languages and 19,500 mother tongues.
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