Streaming was the biggest growth story in India during a pandemic affected 2021, while the film and TV sectors recovered, the annual EY/Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry media industry report reveals.
The streaming audience grew from 450 million in 2020 to 497 million in 2021 and the report estimates that the number will exceed 600 million by 2024. The data excludes YouTube, which crossed 500 million monthly active users towards the end of 2021. The report notes that Disney Plus Hotstar, MX Player, ZEE5, Jio TV and Amazon Prime Video are the top five apps, in that order, in terms of downloads and that Disney Plus Hotstar, YouTube, SonyLIV, ZEE5 and Netflix are the top five apps by revenue. Video subscriptions generated INR54 billion ($706 million).
Television remained the largest entertainment market in India at INR720 billion ($9.4 billion) and is projected to grow to INR826 billion ($10.8 billion) by 2024. Television advertising grew 25% in 2021, recovering from a 22% drop in 2020, and is now just 2% short of 2019 levels. The number of television channels reduced marginally from 911 to 906, in which pay channels increased by 21, while free-to-air channels reduced by 26.
Despite an uptick from 2020, films remained subdued in 2021, largely due to lengthy periods when cinemas were shuttered due to the pandemic. Revenues climbed to INR93 billion ($1.2 billion) but remained far below the pre-pandemic heights of INR191 billion ($2.5 billion). The sector is projected to grow to INR212 billion ($2.7 billion) by 2024.
A total of 757 films were released in theaters in 2021 across languages. The highest number of films were released in the South Indian languages of Telugu (204) and Tamil (152) and 84 films were released in the Hindi-language Bollywood cinema. The South Indian markets recovered faster due to fewer lockdowns, reaching 59% of 2019 release levels. In terms of revenue share, Telugu films accounted for 29%, Hindi 27%, Tamil 17% and Hollywood 11%.
Screen count was estimated at 9,423, a marginal decline from 2020.
The animation and VFX sector revenues were INR83 billion ($1.08 billion) and music INR19 billion ($248 million).