‘OTT platforms’ refer to ‘over-the-top’ media services which offer content to the viewers directly via the internet. This involves bypassing platforms such as cable, satellite and broadcasting services which traditionally act as intermediaries by controlling the distribution of content to the consumers. OTT services can be of various types, focusing on different aspects of entertainment.
Video streaming– Also known as online or streaming television, this is the most popular form of OTT content. The access is subscription based and is usually provided via apps and websites.
OTT Messaging– This refers to instant messaging via online chat platforms and apps such as WhatsApp, which have overtaken the traditional mobile network operator based texting.
OTT calling platforms– Various online chat service suppliers have recently expanded the scope of their platforms by providing voice and video calling features too, which often act as a replacement for traditional means of calling.
OTT music– Online music services have gained monopoly in the audio streaming industry in recent years. They work on a subscription basis through apps such as YouTube Music, Spotify and Apple Music. These platforms allow songs to be streamed and downloaded.
While OTT services have percolated all spheres of mass media and communication, this article will focus on video streaming services, which are the most prevalent and widespread forms of content consumption. Giving a comprehensive list of best OTT platforms in India along with their features and prices, we seek to help you make the best decision while also providing various offers that can be availed on Paisawapas.
Reasons for the rise of OTT video-streaming services
Over the last few years, subscription based streaming services have gained a huge following due to the ease of access, pocket friendly costs and wide variety of content available. Unlike conventional cable or dish services wherein the users do not have much control over the content, the subscribers of OTT video platforms can pick and choose from a huge database of series and movies divided into various categories and genres. Furthermore, the content can be accessed anywhere and anytime on various devices such as smart TVs, mobile phones or tablets as long as they are connected to the internet. On top of this, due to the limited access to public spaces because of the pandemic, these platforms have gained even more popularity as all the latest movies and shows are getting released directly on these platforms.
The best streaming services in India are as follows-
Netflix is a leading internet entertainment service provider with access in over 190 countries. It can be accessed on the computer, via the app on mobile and even on smart TVs. With a smooth- user friendly interface, the content is divided into various categories according to genres, and highlights the shows and movies that are trending or the most critically acclaimed. It not only has some of the most popular series, movies, documentaries and reality shows as part of its database; but users can also access a lot of Netflix original content which is not available on any other platforms.
Subscribers can avail one-month free trial to check out the platform and content. Thereafter, they can choose from four different plans available-
- Mobile Plan- With a monthly price of Rs.190, this plan is best for individuals as it can only be used to stream on one device at a time. Also, the streaming is limited to a mobile or tablet.
- Basic plan- With a monthly subscription of Rs.499, this plan too allows steaming only on one device at a time. However, it is compatible with all devices, including laptop and TV.
- Standard plan- Coming in at a monthly cost of Rs.649, this plan allows streaming on two screens at the same time. Not only is it compatible with all devices, it also has an added feature of streaming in HD.
- Premium plan- The highest-end plan, it has a monthly subscription fee of Rs.799. This plan is ideal for a family or a larger group of people as it allows streaming on four screens simultaneously. On top if this, the content can be streamed in HD and ultra-HD.
This variety in plans offered ensures flexibility as the consumers can pick the plan which best meets their requirements.
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Amazon Prime Video
An initiative with which Amazon entered the OTT service, Prime Video has gained a lot of traction since its introduction in India in 2016. On top of a wide variety of award-winning and world-renowned content, this streaming service also has a large database of Hindi as well as regional shows and movies. Moreover, a Prime membership includes unlimited music streaming via Amazon Music, free delivery and special deals on online shopping as well as access to gaming content.
More pocket-friendly than Netflix, Prime are two subscription plans available- a monthly plan at Rs.129/month and a yearly plan at Rs.999/year. Plus, there are no restrictions on number of devices that can be used with a membership or the number of screens that can be used for streaming. Like Netflix, the users can avail a 30-day free trial too.
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The largest Indian premium streaming platform, it is owned and operated by Star India. Due to a merger with Disney in March of this year, the content available on this OTT platform has expanded exponentially. On top of the large selection of content in Hindi and regional languages along with the shows broadcasted on Star channels, the website/ app now has content exclusive to Disney, HBO and 20th Century Studios too. The platform has a two tiered access- free content wherein revenue is gained through advertisements and subscription based.
Disney+ Hotstar provides two plans-
- Premium- This plan costs Rs.299/month or Rs.1499/year. It gives access to latest shows and movies, live sports, daily soap operas, kids-friendly content and exclusive Hotstar specials completely ad-free.
- VIP- This plan is priced a Rs.399/ year. However, unlike the first one, it does not allow the subscribers to access the database of shows and movies apart from the daily soap operas and seven multiplex blockbusters.
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Voot is an Indian OTT service which was launched in 2016 by Viacom 18. It houses content from various channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon and Colors. It also has videos available in multiple regional languages such as Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. While a lot of free content is available on the platform, it also has a premium subscription available which is called ‘Voot Select’. Voot original content can only be accessed via a paid subscription.
The users can choose between a monthly subscription costing Rs.99 or a yearly one priced at Rs.499. The former comes which a 3-day free trial, while the latter is accompanied by a 14-days trial period.
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(Photo credits: businesstoday.com)
Owned by Balaji Telefims, ALTBalaji is an Indian OTT subscription-based platform. It aims to fill the gaps left by international platforms and provide original, tailor-made content for Indians across the globe. It hence has a wide variety of content spanning across various genres. The platform can be accessed through any device connected to the internet, irrespective of the operating system.
Currently there is no free-trial available for the platform and the interested people must subscribe to gain access. There are two plans available- Rs.100/ 3 months and Rs.300/ 12 months.
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(Photo credits: adgully.com)
Launched in 2018, it is a paid video on- demand service. Owned by Zee Entertainment Enterprises, it provides content in 12 languages. It offers a wide database of over 1000 movies, Zee5 and ALTBalaji original shows, Zee Zindagi channel content as well as over 90 live TV channels. This platform’s services can be availed in all countries except the United States.
The subscribers can choose plans of varying time periods- Rs.99/ 1 month, Rs.299/ 3 months, Rs.599/ 6 months or Rs.999/ 1 year.
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This Indian OTT service is provided by Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd. Its database consists of 18 years of content owned by Sony channels which includes serials, movies as well as sports. On top of this, it has a huge selection of Japanese animated content broadcasted on Animax.
Interested people can choose from different plans of varying time periods- Rs.299/ 1 month, Rs.699/ 6 months and Rs.999/ 1 year.
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This OTT subscription based entertainment and media platform was launched in 2012. It has a digital library of over 12,000 titles consisting of movies, television shows, music videos and audio. It also features various short films and web-series to make its content more unique and compelling to the viewers.
The platforms currently allows users to choose three different billing cycles according to preference- Rs.49/ month, Rs.79/ 3 months and Rs.399/ 1 year.
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Originally introduced as YouTube Red, this OTT platform owned by Google is a subscription based service. A Premium subscription allows one to gain access to high budget original content produced by their favourite creators and YouTubers. Further, this subscription removes the advertisements from all YouTube videos, leading to a better streaming experience. It also allows the users to gain access to YouTube Music which allows one to stream and download audio files from an expansive database.
The current subscription plans allow the users to choose between two billing cycles- Rs.139/ 1 month and Rs. 399/3 months. There is also a family pack available at Rs.189/ month.
This OTT platform is extremely popular and has over 280 million users globally. It has been named ‘the most popular streaming app in India’ and has a streaming library of 150,000 hours over 12 languages. In 2019, it produced five original web series and has even introduced an in-app gaming feature. Currently the platform is completely free and depends on advertisements for revenue.
- Apple TV+
- TVF Play
Summary: Comparison of Prices and Features
|OTT PLATFORMS||SUBSCRIPTION PRICES||FREE CONTENT/ TRIAL||SPECIAL FEATURES|
|Netflix||Ranging from Rs. 190- 800/ 1 month||No free content, 30-day free trial||HD and UHD streaming quality available in the higher variants|
|Amazon Prime Video||Rs. 129/ 1 month or Rs. 999/ year||No free content, 30-day trial period||Free delivery and special offers on online shopping, subscription to Amazon Music|
|Disney+ Hotstar||Premium- Rs. 299/ 1month or Rs. 1499/ 12 monthsVIP- Rs. 399/ year||Some free content with advertisements, no free trial||Exclusive host of HBO and Disney content in India|
|Voot||Rs. 99/ month or Rs. 499/ year||Free content available (except Voot Originals), 3-day and 14-day free trial respectively||–|
|ALTBalaji||Rs. 100/ 3 months or Rs. 300/ 1 year||–||–|
|Zee5||Rs. 99/ 1 month, Rs 299/ 3 months, Rs. 599/ 6 months, Rs. 999/ 12 months||–||–|
|SonyLIV||Rs. 299/ 1 month,Rs. 599/ 6 months orRs. 999/ 12 months||–||–|
|Eros Now||Rs. 49/ 1 monthRs. 79/ 6 months orRs. 399/ 12 months||–||–|
|YouTube Premium||Rs. 139/ 1 month orRs. 399/ 3 monthsFamily plan- Rs. 189/ 1 month||Free content available, except YouTube Originals||No advertisements while streaming, membership for YouTube Music included, family membership is heavily subsidized|
|MX Player||No subscription||Advertisement-based free content||No need for account creation, all content including Originals are free for streaming, in-app gaming feature.|