Hotstar to Invest ₹ 120 crore in Generating Original Content
THE BIG CHANGE
Till two or three years back, there were 200 m screens for consumers... Today... content is consumed over 600 m screens SANJAYGUPTA
MD, Star India
Mumbai: Feeling the pressure from rivals such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which are investing heavily into local and original content in India, Hotstar, the video-on-demand service from Star India, has decided to step on the gas with a war chest of ₹ 120 crore.
Hotstar, which has the highest number of downloads (over 350 million) and claims of 150 million monthly active users, has so far relied on films, sports and catch-up content from Star India’s channels.
Sanjay Gupta, managing director, Star India, told ET that 80% of the viewership on Hotstar comes from drama and movies, while sports, which include Indian Premier League (IPL), BCCI matches, Pro Kabaddi, and Indian Super League, though give a spike in viewership, amounts only to about 20%.
“Till two or three years back, there were only 200 million screens available to consumers between TV, mobile phones, and theatres all put together. Today, given the data revolution in the past two years, content is being consumed over 600 million screens. The big change is that now there is at least one screen for each person in a large number of urban or rural household, who want content for themselves,” Gupta said.
And with consumers’ expectation of content changing, Hotstar has decided to “take the leap” on content.
For its first set of ‘Hotstar Specials’, Star India has partnered with storytellers including Shekhar Kapur, Neeraj Pandey, Kabir Khan, Nikkhil Advani, Ram Madhvani, Venkat Prabhu, Sudhir Mishra, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Nagesh Kukunoor, Mahesh Manjrekar, Vishal Furia, Rohan Sippy, Debbie Rao, Sharad Devarajan and Salman Khan.
While Gupta refused to quantify the investment, sources within Star India have confirmed that the company has earmarked ₹ 120 crore for original content on Hotstar as of now. “Right now, the plan is to spend up to ₹ 120 crore on ‘Hotstar Specials’. Depending on the performance, the budget could be extended by another ₹ 50 odd crore,” the source said.