In a bid to compete with both the domestic and foreign over-the-top (OTT) players, Mumbai-based video streaming provider Hotstar announced the launch of its original content vertical called Hotstar Specials.
According to the company, the Hotstar Specials will feature an extensive variety of Indian stories across genres and formats. For its first set of originals, the company has partnered with some of the popular film makers, directors and actors including Shekhar Kapur, Neeraj Pandey, Kabir Khan, Sudhir Mishra, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Salman Khan.
Further, the special programmes will be available to the users in seven different languages. Citing unnamed sources, an ET report has said that the company earmarked $16.9 Mn (INR 120 Cr) for original content.
“With the mobile phone leading an explosion in the number of screens in the country, we feel that our content also needs to reinvent and boldly move forward. With Hotstar Specials we hope to create the biggest Indian stories delivered to a billion screens,” said Sanjay Gupta, managing director, Star India.
Hostar, which was launched in 2015 by Star India, provides video-on-demand services and currently has over 150 Mn monthly active users and 350 Mn app downloads. It offers popular television shows, movies and knowledge-based content from across 15 TV channels in eight languages.
In a bid to tap the growing video streaming market, Start India subsidiary and Hotstar owner Novi Digital media, had raised $73.8 Mn (INR 516 Cr) from Star US in August 2018.
Last year, reports also stated that in order to compete with ecommerce giant Amazon’s streaming offerings with Prime video, Walmart-owned Flipkart is also looking to acquire stake in Hotstar to mark its foray into the OTT space.
Filling The Demand For Original Content
In September 2018, reports stated that YouTube is looking to bring YouTube Originals to India. The Google-owned video-sharing platform is also looking to grow its business in India through its vernacular content.
Last year, Netflix also marked its debut in India with crime thriller “Sacred Games,” adapted from a novel by Vikram Chandra. In November 2018, the company also announced eight new original tv shows in the country.
In order to widen its reach into the Indian market, Amazon’s Prime Video is also focusing on producing more regional content in India. The company has already launched many Hindi-language original shows such as Mirzapur, Comicstaan, and Breathe.
In November 2018, reports showed that Amazon Prime and Netflix, had collectively invested more on original content for India than all the domestic players combined.
The Boom In OTT Space In India
With around 500 Mn internet users in India as of December 2018, the demand for video and audio content has grown exponentially. This demand has seen rising interest from OTT platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Voot, and Eros Now.
Both the domestic and foreign players count India as one of the major markets for video streaming services.
Most recently, reports said that online payments platform Paytm planning to launch over-the-top (OTT) services and has also begun the hiring process for this initiative.
Further, US-based video streaming provider Netflix has leased a 1.5 Lakh sq ft space in Mumbai to set up its India headquarters.
According to a report by FICCI – EY, the over-the-top (OTT) subscription market in India may reach $282.02 Mn (INR 2,000 Cr) by 2020. Further, a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) states that India will be the 10th largest market for online video in terms of revenue by 2022.