Communication, entertainment, social networking among top OTT apps:Survey

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New Delhi: Communication, entertainment, and social networking apps are the most widely used OTT apps while e-Commerce and financial apps have low penetration, a recent survey by CUTS International has revealed.

CUTS International conducted a survey in Rajasthan to gauge, inter alia, the impact of OTT services on users. Various user-facing aspects such as access, usage, benefits, barriers, improvisations and grievance redressal were studied.

Cumulatively, 500 respondents were surveyed across various consumer demographics (age, gender, income, educational qualification and occupation) from 5 districts covering North, South, East, West and Central Rajasthan.

The survey results showcase that communication, entertainment, and social networking apps are the most widely used OTT apps while e-commerce and financial  apps, which are oft cited as key to inclusive growth, have low penetration. Furthermore, lack of awareness has been reported as a major factor behind low usage of government OTT applications.

Incidentally, vulnerable groups such as women, housewives and less literate users have reported high usage and positive impact of OTT services. On the flip side several undesirable effects pertaining to decreased social life, increased distraction and decline in physical activity have also been reported.

Another striking finding to be noted is that even though privacy issues are at the forefront of digital policy debate, very few respondents desire improvements in privacy features in OTT apps. Hence,  it is prudent to capacitate the consumers on the importance of privacy features and the implications of privacy violation.

Whileusers have reported high usage of OTT apps there is low awareness and use of grievance redressal mechanisms.

Efforts driven by civil society, service providers and government are imperative to facilitate user empowerment for an informed user base. Hence, CUTS recommends that it is essential to build user capacity, especially for new users and vulnerable groups, around use, benefits, privacy, data security and grievance redress related aspects of this relatively new paradigm.

Further, to ensure continued momentum of digital inclusion, adequate connectivity infrastructure, appropriate app design and interface for Indian demographics and smart phone &continued data plan affordability aspects need to be recognized and addressed. To achieve that, a light touch regulatory approach that does not stunt access for users and restrict the capabilities of service providers is recommended.

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