OTT platforms in Nepal: Progress and Future

OTT refers to the means of providing television and film content over the internet as per the request of the viewers. The use of OTT(Over The Top) services has been increasing as through it various content can be watched on-demand as per one’s wish.

The OTT service platform isn’t much developed in Nepal and since it is kind of a modern approach to television viewing, people aren’t quite familiar with the idea of it. Nepalese people have just recently become familiar with digital streaming as, before it, television in Nepal was mostly based on cable networks. There aren’t many huge OTT services in Nepal, but two services that have stood out are NETTV and WOWTime.

NET TV is the first OTT and IPTV service of Nepal which was launched in 2015. It allows users to access both English and Nepali TV channels, recorded TV, and demand video content. They have partnered with Worldlink, Vianet, Smart, to provide the service. It enables users to use YouTube as well as watch Asian, Bollywood, and Hollywood movies. It has been popular recently after the government urged it to discontinue cable TV. It works on smartphones and TVs.
WOWTIME is an OTT service brought by Nepal Telecom in collaboration with WIN Nepal Pvt. Ltd

It is accessible to users of NTC and the users can enjoy features such as Live TV, movies, and videos, which are mostly in Nepali but Indian and International content can be streamed too. It intends to provide abundant video on demand, pay-per-view, and FM services all in one app to all Nepal Telecom users.

Iflix is another OTT platform of Nepal, which was first introduced by Ncell but now has been bought by Tencent, a Chinese company, which also owns Wechat, PUBG. Iflix is an Asia-oriented platform that has been providing services in Pakistan, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Brunei, Nepal, and Bangladesh. It has a variety of Asian shows and movies. The iFlix company was at loss, but now that Tencent has bought it, there’s a chance of it being a more popular video streaming platform in Southeast Asia.

Now, the question arises as, why OTT services in Nepal are slacking behind while most of the countries in the world solely use OTT services. One of the reasons is, Nepalese people still watch television programs broadcasted by entertainment networks and prefer it too, as the population has always been more influenced by Indian media rather than western, and because of it, the media in Nepal isn’t much developed and hence, even if there were OTT services there wouldn’t be any originals to broadcast.

The Nepali media industry is developing slowly, but the platforms for broadcasting any shows or movies are mainly TV itself or YouTube. YouTube has been gaining a lot of popularity among Nepalese, and the shows that people come up with, are uploaded on YouTube, so it may be another reason why the OTT services aren’t quite as well developed.

Owing to these reasons, OTT services may seem unnecessary but their advancement can bring a big chance for the Nepali media to increase an audience. South Asian music and shows are peaking worldwide and the reason for this coverage includes OTT services as well. YouTube seemingly is a good platform, but it tends to limit the audience.

The other reason OTT services aren’t that popular is the difficulty in payment for the services. Nepalese people had a hard time using international OTT services like Netflix as there wasn’t a means to pay for it and as a result grew unfamiliar with the concept of OTT. And, so, even when OTT services started, gathering an audience became hard, and hence it didn’t do well.

Developing OTT services in Nepal can help gain Nepali media audiences and also simplify Nepalese to gain access to international shows and movies, and for this, the people need to be familiar with the concept of OTT and developers should find a way to reduce the complexities like payment of the service.