Hotstar, Sony Liv Gear Up to Take on Netflix in India
Mumbai: Hollywood’s popularity in India should never be underestimated. Disney’s The Jungle Book has not only clocked more than .₹ 150 crore but also managed to top Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan in the process. Now, media conglomerates Star and Sony plan to cash in on this Hollywood rage in a different way.
Sony Liv, the over-the-top services player owned by broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) India, and Star India’s Hotstar will use Hollywood movies and English TV content to take on Netflix in the Indian market. Hotstar, which claims over 50 million downloads, has launched its first pay wall (.`199 per month) with the launch of sixth season of ‘Game of Thrones’, an HBO original series, along with other TV series. Sony Liv, with over 20 million downloads, has taken the films route and recently launched a subscription service for Bollywood movies. It is banking on its Hollywood library to offer English movies on subscription and plans to offer titles like The Goosebumps, The Angry Birds, Hotel Transylvania and Concussion to its users before their TV premieres on a per-transaction basis for .₹ 120.
“While we have subscription plan for .₹ 150 per month, we are offering recent movies on a pay-per-view and transactional VOD basis for .₹ 120. As these films are not aired on TV, we hope that people will pay to watch it on Sony Liv,” said Uday Sodhi, executive vice president and digital business head at SPN India.
Both Hotstar and Sony Liv have priced subscriptions well below Netflix’s minimum of .₹ 500. “Consumers of content in English have always been associated with higher spending power. They are also more amenable to paying for content if they can get it on a when-andwhere-I-want-it basis,” said Ashish Pherwani, head – advisory for media & entertainment at EY.