Hotstar, owned by Star India, has bettered its own concurrent viewership record in only concluded Twenty20 International between India and New Zealand. It broke its previous record of 10.3 million concurrent viewership with 11.2 million during the T20 game between both nations.
Interestingly, Hotstar was among the first to start on-line streaming of video content in India and currently enjoys about 69.4percentshare in India’sOver the top (OTT) market.However,the firm has been making losses since its inception in February 2015.
Itseems Hostar is taking inspiration from Netflix toput a tab on its losses as it plansto produce and distribute his own original content with an investment of Rs 120 crore going forward. Original content is a concept that Netflix started pushing to its viewers since 2011 which became the key to its success in the online video streaming market.
Currently, Hotstar gets about 80 percent of its viewers from drama and films that it sources from Star India. The remaining 20 percent viewership comes in sporting events like Indian Premier League, BCCI cricket games, Pro Kabaddi and India Super League.
The major bottleneck why Hotstar is not able to add subscribers and which in turn may lead to better revenue generation is that most of these content it showcases can be found on tv channels which can be subscribed via cable or direct-to-home subscriptions at rates with are quite low. The plan to get original content shows may assist Hotstar in converting its readers into paid users.
Hotstar has tied up with 15 movie manufacturers, including Shekhar Kapur, Salman Khan, Neeraj Pandey, Himanshu Dhulia, Kabir Khan and Nikhil Advani among others. Most of Hotstar Specials are going to be in Hindi, and there is where the viewership lies. Hotstar is also planning to present new subscription plans of Rs 999 per year, that is comparable to Amazon’s Prime Videos. But, Amazon’s Prime membership provides other stuff like music, e-commerce deals, besides videos and films.
In addition to Netflix and Amazon who has spent $300 million for content in India, Hotstar may have to struggle with homegrown OTTs like AltBalaji, SOnyLIV and HoiChoi, AltBalaji and Hoi Choi have already made tremendous inroads with their very own original content in local languages that obtained good traction. Also, competition from Subhash Chandra’s Zee which has upped the OTT game with Zee5 can’t be ruled out.