December 27, 2016
India’s middle-income consumer market is currently one of the fastest growing in the world, as well as one of the most culturally diverse. Steady growth in disposable incomes is having a direct impact on the number of mobile Internet users, which has reached over 400 million, and by extension, on consumer demand for video content availability across mobile devices.
In a country with low landline penetration at 25.17 million, mobile has become the standard way to communicate, with 1.03 billion mobile phones in use as of February 2016. However, 70% of Indian consumers are still accessing the Internet through 2G networks, and access to 3G and 4G is only available in the large cities and remains relatively expensive, turning the delivery of video content to mobile devices into a technical headache.
The challenge in India is heightened as 2G networks have historically provided too low a bitrate for video streaming, undermining efforts to offer mobile video services to small town India, where the majority of the population can only access the mobile Internet through constricted networks such as 2G and Edge. The distribution of Over-The-Top (OTT) content was perceived to be to be impossible until the implementation of a 4G infrastructure was enabled.
Yet, India’s new mobile OTT service provider, FastFilmz, decided to go against the flow by launching a service also targeting 2G network users in March this year. From launch, the service opened up the market from the few million who have access to 3G, to the full 50+ million base of smartphone owners in the southern parts of the country, including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. Within four months of its successful launch, FastFilmz has already extended its offering adding Telugu-language movies to its initial Tamil movie offering.