Hot­star to In­vest ₹ 120 crore in Gen­er­at­ing Orig­i­nal Con­tent

The Economic Times - - Brands: Creating Desire - Gau­[email protected] times­group.com

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.

COM­PANY PHOTO

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