The Great Indian Battle of Streaming Services



If the new millennial somehow acquires Aladdin’s magic lamp and summons the genie – can you take a guess as to what their first wish would be?

To combine all the streaming platforms into a single one

This is the modern-day fantasy. But, the reality is you still have to browse through multiple streaming services to choose the one, two, or three you prefer. Hence, it becomes essential to understand what is the service each one provides.

In India, the streaming wars have reached a new level. Considered one of the biggest markets in the world in online content, India has its own share of streaming platforms competing for eyeballs. Disruption in the online streaming space has shaken up the Indian entertainment industry as well. Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar, MX player, ALT Balaji, Zee5 (to name a few) are causing jitters into the entertainment sector.

With 1 GigaByte of mobile data being available for as low as Rs. 5, Indians are spending 75% more time on their phones and online streaming. The OTT market is a new playing field for many major players and it seems to be an exciting time to live in.

Disney who owns Hotstar is leading the pack with 300mn users actively, followed by MX Player, Prime Video, Netflix, Zee5 and ALT Balaji. So, there’s merit in analyzing which service works best for you and why it matters to subscribe to which one.


For many years now, Netflix has been the go-to binge-watching platform in the west. For many of those years, Indians waited patiently for them to launch in India and when they finally did, they grew like crazy in a short span. But now things seem extremely different. Netflix sees a threat approaching for the Indian market from major companies like Apple, Disney, HBO, Star, Zee and Times Group.

But, the many reasons why Netflix still rules the roost amongst streaming services can be classified into 5 major pointers.

  • Original content library
  • Award-winning TV series
  • Licensing great content
  • Insatiable choice of content
  • Interactive technology and media

Already boasting of having a plush library of Hindi and English movies and shows alike, Netflix is now aiming to add more regional content in Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, and Marathi to attract more viewers and take on growing competition in the OTT market.

Netflix has very reasonable pricing and a service that boasts of content from all over the globe. To check their prices click here.


Perhaps the most known streaming service name in India (Yes, even more than Prime Video or Netflix).
Hotstar has a user base that mainly uses the platform to watch live sports – IPL, Cricket World Cup, Cricket matches of India, Premier League, etc.

It has made a name for itself in the live streaming category bundled with unmatched in technology and content rights in that space. However, they are trying to bring more users to their platform by introducing premium and VIP subscriptions.

In a pull to bring more users from India, and get them hooked on Original plus Licensed Content, Hotstar Premium has priced itself at Rs. 999 for a year and VIP at Rs. 365 for a year.

The most interesting bit to learn here is that Hotstar has exclusive content from HBO’s library that includes the extremely popular  — Game of Thrones (Season 8 of which set unprecedented records), Westworld, Silicon Valley, Modern Family, etc.

In a bid to produce more original content from India and build a loyal base of not just online streaming but TV viewers as well, it has made a great leap of faith with Hotstar Originals which includes an array of show sand some movies  — some of which include the Indian adaptation of The Office, official adaptation of British show Criminal Justice and an original show by Sudhir Mishra titled Hostages.

So if you are interested and want to watch more about diverse Indian content — that you can also find on subscribing to any DTH service.

MX Player

A new entrant (launched only a year ago) into the streaming battle, MX players streaming service is owned by Times Group. With 150+mn active users, the shows and content on MX are completely FREE.

This comes at quite a shock. On one hand, giants like Amazon and Netflix are battling it out in the price war, on the other hand, MX is giving its content free to view at no cost. This can be understood as a strategic de

cision in a bid to gain new viewers and retain existing ones.

It is highly used for content in regional languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and more. And most recently has released a string of original shows namely — Thinkistaan, HelloMini, Queen, Hey Prabhu, etc.

Amazon Prime Video

Indias’ video-on-demand service is set to reach a figure of $5 Billion by 2023. Amazon, the US mega-corporation has revealed that it will invest in developing original content and acquiring licensed content from Indian media companies.

Quite an interesting thing to note is that Indians pay quite less in subscription service for Prime Video as compared to citizens of countries like the US or Europe. Prime Video in India, a year back launched its monthly subscription plan at just Rs 129 ($1.82) per month as compared to the $12.99 monthly for Amazon Prime Video, in the United States.

Amazon Prime brings with itself a whole bundle of other services that one can subscribe to — Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Delivery. So if you’re someone who wants to spend the least and make the most out of it, Prime is the way to go. However, a note of the content — one wouldn’t say it is the best out there, but then it is not the worst either. It has some really well-made shows, some interesting licensed content, and documentaries.

For all Premier League lovers, a revolutionary change Prime Video is trying to achieve is to bring live streaming of Premier League matches. But, those rights for the time rest outside the purview of this article!


Catering to South Asian diaspora in the Middle East as well as to the local Indian population that loves Bollywood movies. Zee5 as a streaming platform offers over a hundred thousand hours of content.

The Zee5 library has over —

  • 1500 movies including the latest blockbusters
  • Exclusive Originals (Karenjit Kaur, Parchayee, Broken but Beautiful, etc.)
  • TV series and more content across 17 languages (including Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, and Marathi).

Zee5 also packs streams over 60 Live TV channels, making it a completely integrated entertainment offering. The platform follows a hybrid – free as well as a paid-pricing model.

So, what do we have here? A lot of platforms, and a growing number of passengers choosing which service to board. They are also in a tussle, trying to take over each other. Big players like Amazon, Netflix, Hotstar have populated the online market and are already at loggerheads against each other. So with even a small slip, it can affect the industry and the companies largely. Unfortunately for these platforms, there are many small slips approaching.

While looking into the future, we see that Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have already planned to invest more in India to fuel the content boom, with original series and movies based in India. Netflix, in fact, plans to triple its growth in the next year to about 4 million users. Considering the South Asian picture, Netflix and Amazon, both shut out of China, are pouring money into India. Netflix has invested more in India than any other market outside the United States and plans to continue doing so. It has announced 16 original series and 24 films for the upcoming year.

Comments are closed.