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OTT platforms have over 707 million users in India, with push coming from rural users

India has experienced a seismic shift in how people consume digital entertainment, particularly over-the-top (OTT) audio and video services.

The ‘Internet in India Report 2023’, jointly conducted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and data analytics firm Kantar, reveals that a staggering 707 million Internet users in India actively engage with OTT platforms.

This report, drawing from the extensive ICUBE 2023 survey covering over 90,000 households across all Indian states, highlights the phenomenal growth of OTT services. Moreover, the adoption of non-traditional streaming devices further fuels the appetite for digital entertainment.

The category of smart devices, including smart TVs, speakers, streaming sticks, and players, has seen a remarkable 58 percent growth between 2021 and 2023. Notably, 208 million people now exclusively use these Internet-connected devices to consume video content, surpassing the 181 million still reliant on conventional TVs.

Following OTT, communications and social media emerged as the second and third most popular online activities among Indians, respectively. The report defines OTT as subscribed and user-generated audio and video content streaming.

Meanwhile, communications encompass various forms of online interaction, including messaging, email, and video conferencing.

A significant trend highlighted by the report is the considerable contribution of rural India to these online activities, with over 50 percent of users hailing from rural areas. This underscores the pivotal role of rural regions in shaping nationwide Internet consumption patterns.

Despite the Internet user base surpassing 820 million in 2023, growth rates have slowed post-pandemic, particularly in urban areas.

However, adding over 50 million new users remains a remarkable achievement considering the already vast scale of Internet penetration. Targeting regional language users, who represent 57 percent of the total user base, holds the potential to reignite growth.

Encouragingly, states with historically lower Internet penetration, such as Jharkhand and Bihar, are experiencing above-average expansion rates, indicating ample room for continued outreach and expansion efforts.

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