Indians discover new languages as smart TV penetrations deepens

Xiaomi Corp, based in China, sells smartphones, television sets, watches, and other electronics in India. It offers smart TVs that come bundled with streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Malayalam was the top language of choice for Xiaomi TV users last year, followed by Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Marathi, as per the report, the first of its kind by the company. Xiaomi has sold over seven million smart TVs and tracks user behaviour across its own sets, on which it offers over 75 free live channels. The company tracks both streamed and linear television content.

The report said catch-up television or the idea of watching daily TV programming at one’s own convenience, remained big for viewers. The top searches on Xiaomi TVs were dominated by daily soaps Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah and Anupamaa, followed by films like Kriti Sanon-starrer Mimi that streamed on Netflix and war drama Shershaah that was available on Amazon Prime Video. Hollywood flick Godzilla vs Kong and Amazon’s Tamil language caste drama Jai Bhim were also part of top searches.

“Cord-cutting is a significant phenomenon in India but as far as the overall landscape goes, it is only happening at the top end of the pyramid right now,” Eshwar Nilakantan, category lead – TVs, Xiaomi India told Mint.

Of around 200 million households in India, 160 million own a television set, he said, and about 100 million of those are non-smart TVs. Over the next four to five years, even as all of them transition to buying smart TVs, they will continue to use cable services, adding to catch-up TV consumption that is a significant portion of viewing even now, Nilakantan added.

According to a recent report by Media Partners Asia (MPA), better broadband facilities will accelerate the proliferation of connected TV devices from smart TVs to hybrid STBs (set top boxes) and even dongles in the coming years. Currently, India has five million daily active users on connected TV homes, which by 2026 will grow more than six-fold to 33 million daily active homes. MPA is an independent provider of research, advisory and consulting services in media, telecom, sports and entertainment for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

On Xiaomi TVs, top channels viewed were all news–Aaj Tak, India TV, Sun News and Zee News–with the company witnessing a 300% increase in households streaming overall online content in 2021 as compared to 2020 while time spent has doubled over the same period.

Further, the linguistic and cultural landscape of India is so vast that each state should almost be seen as a European country, Nilakantan said explaining the rise of regional language content.

“There are about three to four top guys and then there is a long tail of regional players, that could also include individual creators,” said Nilakantan whose company has partnered with 30 OTT platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, ZEE5, SonyLIV, Lionsgate Play, Sun NEXT, aha Video, Hoichoi, Jio Cinema, DocuBay, Eros Now, ALTBalaji and the Republic network, among others.

Anisha Mehta, partnerships and content operations – TVs, Xiaomi India, said the company is looking at more partnerships as newer OTTs launch and as new, niche categories come into focus, be it education or fitness.

Also, more people are looking for high-quality viewing.

Xiaomi witnessed 1.38 crore clicks on 4K or ultra high-definition content, with titles like Disney’s Raya: The Last Dragon, Pixar’s Luca and Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, ranking high among choices. However, most viewed films on PatchWall were a mix of international and local titles with Akshay Kumar’s Bellbottom (Amazon Prime Video) leading the list, followed by a foreign show Wrath of Man (Lionsgate Play), Telugu courtroom drama Vakeel Saab (Amazon), Black Widow (Disney+ Hotstar), Salman Khan’s Radhe-Your Most Wanted Bhai (ZEE5), Godzilla vs Kong (Amazon), Rashmi Rocket (ZEE5) and Zack Snyder’s Justice League (Hungama Play).

The most popular web shows, on the other hand, were The Family Man (Amazon), Gullak (SonyLIV) and November Story (Disney+ Hoststar).



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