Media major Star India is quite upbeat over the viewership numbers of Hotstar and gearing up to engage more global audience by placing high quality Indian content on its video streaming platform, said a top official.
Speaking to PTI, Star India Managing Director Sanjay Gupta said Hotstar is witnessing over 100 million new users coming to the platform every month across the globe. As part of its strategy to address all age groups, Star is ensuring a strong presence across screens, be it television, iPads or mobile handsets coupled with strong content, he explained.
To maintain its leadership position in the digital space, the company is investing heavily on content and has acquired broadcasting rights of the major sporting events such as IPL, Kabbadi apart from adding India-specific drama content.
“We already have best of the Hollywood channels as Star Movie, Star World and Star World Premium and we premier the content from Fox, Disney and HBO on both TV and digital,” Gupta said.
The attempt now is to take the Indian content global and therefore, Hotstar got launched in the US and Canada, he added.
“In the last season, it (Kabaddi event) was beamed in 100 countries live. Our attempt is to more to take the global audiences with the high-quality sporting or drama content which we create,” he said.
Apart from sports, Star is also putting Hotstar Exclusive series like Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai on its platform. “From almost zero (when Hotstar started) to 100 million viewers (now), this is the fastest growth in the digital platform in the world actually,” Gupta said.
Hotstar, launched in February 2015, is an online video streaming platform owned by Novi Digital Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of Star India.
It competes with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos and other OTT players.
The competition in the video-on-demand space has intensified specially after the launch of Reliance Jio’s services as data tariffs have come down drastically in the country.
New players like Yupp TV, Hungama and ALT Balaji are actively expanding their library with original programming to tap into the Indian market.
Asked about the dip in TV viewership among millennials, he said Star is well prepared for them with Hotstar, which is becoming a very popular among them. “That’s why we are investing in Hotstar as business and in high quality content as kabbadi, football or IPL. We are doing to secure so that the future remains with us,” Gupta said.
He added that Star India is “not a TV company but is in the business of telling stories”.
“It does not matter where the consumer consumes the story, they can do it on TV on mobile phone, iPad or any other device. There are only two things which need to do, one we need to tell great stories -drama, movie or sport and the second thing is that to have presence across screens,” he said.
Hotstar currently offers over 50,000 hours of TV content and movies across eight languages.