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The era of ‘smart’ entertainment

Date: 15 June, 2023

Writer : Basudev Paul
Source : Dhaka Tribune

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

15 June, 2023
Writer : Basudev Paul
Source : Dhaka Tribune
· Reading Time: 7 Minutes

The era of ‘smart’ entertainment

The era of ‘smart’ entertainment

OTT platforms in Bangladesh have grown tremendously in recent years. There is potential for much more growth.

Bangladesh, a nation renowned for its vibrant culture and flourishing entertainment industry, is undergoing an exhilarating revolution in media consumption and its perception.

With the advent of OTT (Over-the-Top) platforms, the entertainment landscape is experiencing a dramatic transformation. OTT platforms are rewriting the rules on how audiences in Bangladesh access and savour their beloved movies, television shows, and digital content.

OTT platforms in Bangladesh provide entertainment enthusiasts with an unprecedented level of convenience and variety. Historically, television broadcasts and movie screenings relied extensively on scheduled programming, providing viewers with limited options. However, with OTT platforms, viewers now have the freedom to choose what, when, where and how to watch.

OTT platforms offer a vast content library, on-demand viewing, multi-device access, and personalized recommendations. These platforms also leverage blockchain and AI tools to introduce viewers to new and relevant content, enhancing their overall user experience.

Moreover, OTT platforms provide opportunities for local content creators to showcase their talent to a wider audience, reduce entry barriers, create new revenue streams, and provide data-driven insights to help content creators and distributors make informed decisions.

Growth and timeline

The growth of the OTT industry in Bangladesh can be traced through a timeline of platform launches. It began in 2013 with the introduction of “Bongo,” the first OTT platform in the country. Subsequently, in 2016, “Bioscope,” “Banglaflix,” and “Teleflix” entered the market, expanding the availability of online streaming services.

In 2018, “Cinespot” emerged as a dedicated platform showcasing Bangladeshi movies. In 2020 “Binge” entered offering diverse content catering to audience preferences.

However, it was in 2021 that the OTT platform landscape in Bangladesh underwent significant transformation with the arrival of “Chorki.” This platform brought notable advancements, including original movies, web series, and shorts, featuring various Bengali and foreign content.

The momentum continued in 2022 when Deepto TV launched “Deepto Play”, expanding the options available to viewers with a wide array of TV shows, movies, and live events. More recently, in 2023, Channel I joined the ranks by launching “iScreen,” offering a diverse collection of movies, TV shows, and exclusive content.

Reaching full potential

Despite the growth of OTT platforms in Bangladesh, the industry has not yet reached its full potential. Challenges such as a lack of government dissemination, user-generated content creation, high-quality engaging content, utilization of AI and blockchain, collaboration, and content targeting future-ready citizens persist.

Acknowledging these challenges and recognizing the global demand for OTT platforms, as well as the shifting preferences of viewers towards high-quality content consumption at home, the Human Development Media (HD Media) team of the Aspire to Innovate (a2i) program under the ICT Division identified the need to establish a government-backed OTT platform in the post-Covid era.

The platform aims to serve as a comprehensive source of information and data on Smart Bangladesh while offering educational and entertaining content. By aligning with the government’s vision and development initiatives, the platform intends to reduce crime, combat extremism, foster nationalism, and provide people with hope by sharing their stories.

Furthermore, it seeks to tap into the potential of this multi-million-dollar market. In line with these objectives, the “OTT Platform Innovation Challenge 2022” was initiated, with the goal of developing a sector-specific OTT platform catering to the demands of education, agriculture, skills, kids, government information, and entertainment.

This edu-infotainment OTT platform will cater to the age group of 13 to 40-year-olds and play a pivotal role in delivering customized content to all internet users, especially the youth. The bootcamp stage, with 14 concept papers, has already been completed, and the winner’s announcement is imminent.

Before the very beginning of the OTT Platform Innovation Challenge 2022, a survey was conducted to obtain an understanding of the OTT platform user landscape in Bangladesh.

The goal was to gain a deeper comprehension of the preferences and behaviours of the intended audience. 759 individuals, all OTT platform users, participated in the survey.


(Source: Online Survey through Google Form)

The survey report reveals a significant gender disparity among OTT platform users, with 97.2% of the respondents being male and only 2.8% being female. Additionally, the survey highlights variations in OTT platform usage across different geographical areas.

The report indicates that the adoption of OTT platforms is relatively low in rural areas, with only 6.7% of respondents indicating usage, whereas semi-urban areas demonstrated a relatively higher usage rate at 11.2%, and urban areas exhibiting the highest adoption rate at 82.1%.

Moreover, the survey shed light on the age demographics of OTT platform users. The data indicates that citizens aged between 19-30 years old are the most active users, accounting for 51.6% of the respondents. In contrast, individuals aged above 60 represent the least active user group in terms of OTT platform usage.

Recent data revealed that the total number of subscribers across various local OTT platforms stood at an impressive 2 crore. Furthermore, the industry’s market size was estimated to be Tk300 crore annually.

Projections indicate a remarkable growth trajectory for the OTT platform market in Bangladesh, with estimations suggesting that by 2030, the market size will surpass the significant milestone of Tk1,000 crore.

This forecast underscores the OTT industry’s immense potential and promising future in Bangladesh, reflecting the increasing demand for online streaming services and the evolving preferences of Bangladeshi audiences.

While OTT platforms convey numerous advantages, they also come across obstacles that must be addressed for their continued growth. These challenges include internet connectivity issues, copyright infringement concerns, and the need for regulatory frameworks that balance innovation and consumer protection.

To ensure the sustainable development of OTT platforms in Bangladesh, government, industry stakeholders, content creators, policymakers, and internet service providers must work together to resolve these challenges and establish a sustainable ecosystem that nurtures innovation and creativity in the digital entertainment era.

The rise of OTT platforms marks an exciting chapter in the entertainment history of Bangladesh, promising a future of immersive and engaging content for Smart Bangladesh.

Basudev Paul is HD Media Coordinator at a2i.

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