The simple answer to this question is it will not! Not in the immediate future at least. And before the sceptics bay for my blood, let me tell you a few reasons why.
Both Netflix and TV Operate In Totally Different Environments
TV is a linear experience and is not an easy habit to get rid of. Netflix is an emerging ecosystem of on demand entertainment that has yet to seep into the bloodstream. In 2014, OTT subscribers were only 12 Mn and this number rose to 15 Mn in 2015. This number is expected to be around 105 Mn by 2020. TV as a medium gamers close to INR 18000 Cr. in revenue. OTT is still trying to get its revenue model in place.
The Audiences For Both Are Fundamentally Different
One appeals to the substantially middle class of the country while the other finds it solace amongst the super elite who have high-end smartphones and a penchant for not worrying about broadband costs.
TV Broadcasters Are In A Hurry To Launch Their Own OTTs
Hotstar, today has about 4 Mn downloads and this is not an audience that is very loyal to TV. But does not mean that they are averse to watching TV content when it suits them.
OTT Will Depend A Lot On Telecom Operators
Distribution system will perhaps be one of the biggest reasons why TV will continue to play big brother. Bandwidth, bandwidth costs, alliance, etc. will dictate how people queue up or give up the Netflix and other related OTT experiences.
But The One Thing That OTTs Have Going For Themselves Is Original Content
Repeat telecasts will soon be hopefully, a thing of the past. The reason why repeat telecast happens is because not everyone is a linear animal. With OTT this problem kind of disappears. Content acquisition and content creation is going to soon find a new womb and one expects that this will soon blossom into a far larger opportunity than envisaged. But, for someone to come up with an Indian version of How to get away with Murder is going to be one hell of a challenge. The ecosystem is today geared for TV and will need to change tracks to cater to an OTT audience whose tastes may not necessarily be the same. This will, I presume take some time and to fill the gap one will have to continue to depend on original programming from either the parent company or from some TV fair.
This Is Where Services Such As Netflix Will Score
Content, content, content and that too in the local languages is a challenge that Netflix will face. It has already shown its hand in being able to secure some Hindi Movies but these are too little in number to make any significant dent in the universe.
But for now, the audience for English content is still small for any real change to be noticed. The Grid below indicates just how small it is.
TAM data for the last 4 weeks has been used to illustrate the point.
Finally, the one thing that TV is not dependent on and Netflix will be the quality of hardware. For Netflix to run smoothly without any revolving rainbows one needs to have the right RAM and the right processor in the smartphone. Today, while the smartphone revolution is on in India, the sweet spot for such phones is basically a sub Rs. 10000 phone which may not always give you the experience that is required for a OTT.
So, to all the sceptics out there and the doomsayers, I am enjoying my Netflix free run for the moment. And yes, I have begun to binge on Narcos for the moment. Most of this has been seen on the iPhone 6S Plus while commuting in an Uber, thanks to the odd and even rule. And yes, I will also take the paid subscription once the free run is over. And yes, I continue to watch Sita Ke Ram on whatever channel it comes. Ache din?