In a bid to stay ahead of Netflix and Amazon Prime, Star India is sprucing up its OTT platform Hotstar with new content. Called ‘Hotstar Specials’, Star India has partnered with the likes of Salman Khan, Shekhar Kapur, Nagesh Kukunoor and Nikhil Advani among other storytellers to create exclusive content for the online video streaming platform.
“With Hotstar Specials, we can challenge the television conventions and thoughts, which in some ways were limiting in today’s world, in terms of formats, number of episodes and themes in a meaningful way,” Sanjay Gupta, MD, Star India, told BusinessLine. Hotstar Specials is purely designed for digital consumption.
This will involve multiple shows under the same umbrella of Hotstar Specials, for which Star India has partnered with over 15 storytellers,including actors and directors. It will be going live in this quarter and will mostly release all the episodes at one go for a particular series.
It will also be made available in six other languages, other than the original language of the content, though the pricing hasn’t been determined yet. The Hotstar Specials will be available for offline viewing too, with the genre spread across drama, thrillers, mythology and the like.
Earlier, people were consuming content only on their TV screens or cinema screens, with these screens constituting 20 crore in numbers two years back, said Gupta. He said that 40 crore screens have been added in the last two years, which takes the number of screens on which people are consuming stories to 60 crore. With the digital foray, the number of screens have grown dramatically, he said.
Increasing user base
Over two years ago, Hotstar had around 4 crore monthly active users, and this has increased to 15 crore now. Gupta expects this number to grow “quite dramatically” in the next few months, as it has grown at a fast pace till now. Future plans would be to keep investing behind Hotstar Specials and making it bigger, he said.
Gupta believes that what sets Hotstar apart is that it has it is a Made in India product, complete with its own technology team. “At least in terms of the reach and number of people who come to Hotstar, there is no competition. The only real competition is YouTube where the number of people who come will be similar or more than Hotstar,” he said.
Source: The Hindu