Internet in India Report 2023 Highlights Surging OTT Usage and Rural Internet Growth

Internet in India Report 2023 Highlights Surging OTT Usage and Rural Internet Growth
In a recent report titled 'Internet in India Report 2023', jointly compiled by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KANTAR, it was revealed that approximately 86% of internet users in India, totaling 707 million people, engage in Over-The-Top (OTT) audio and video services. This marks OTT services as the leading use-case for the internet in the country.
The report, based on the ICUBE 2023 study encompassing over 90,000 households across all states and Union Territories (excluding Lakshadweep), unveiled that the substantial growth in OTT usage is primarily attributed to the proliferation of non-traditional devices such as smart TVs, smart speakers, Firesticks, Chromecasts, and Blue-Ray players. Collectively, these devices experienced a remarkable 58% growth between 2021 and 2023 at the national level.
Harsh Jain, Chairman of IAMAI and CEO/Co-founder of Dream Sports, presented the report at the India Digital Summit 2024, held at the Jio World Convention Centre. The report also highlighted a shift in consumer behavior, with more individuals accessing video content through internet-only devices (208 million users) compared to traditional linear TV (181 million users).
Aside from OTT services, the report identified communications (621 million users) and social media (575 million users) as other prominent use-cases of the internet. Notably, users from rural India were identified as the driving force behind these use-cases, constituting over 50% of the user base for each.
The report showcased a significant milestone in internet penetration, surpassing 800 million users, with a total of 820 million active internet users in 2023. This implies that over 55% of Indians utilized the internet in the past year. Internet penetration across the nation exhibited a modest 8% year-on-year growth, with rural India accounting for more than half of the total user base.
Puneet Awasthi, Director of Specialist Businesses, Insights, South Asia - Business Development at Kantar, highlighted key figures from the report, emphasizing that states with the lowest internet user base, such as Jharkhand (46% penetration) and Bihar (37% penetration), displayed above-average growth rates of 12% and 17%, respectively. This underscores the inclusive growth of internet usage even in regions with traditionally lower connectivity rates.