Hotstar is adding to 'free' content — making life more difficult for Netflix, Amazon and the likes

  • Hotstar, India’s largest OTT player, is wooing India by giving what it loves the most: free content.
  • The OTT platform announced that it will provide high quality content to its Hindi audience without any charge.
  • With the new campaign ‘Hotstar ka vaada, free entertainment sabse zyada’, Hotstar says it is targeting the Tier II and Tier III cities which have been “fueling the growth of online video consumption in India.”

Hotstar, India’s largest OTT player, already has 60% market share but it wants more. So it is wooing Indians, especially those in smaller cities and towns, a lot more free content. The bar is raised further for the likes of Netflix and Amazon that are dwarfed in competition.

The move is further timed well, just before the beginning of the next season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that is a big money churner and a hot favourite in Indian drawing rooms.

Presently, Hotstar’s free content library includes several movies like Chhichhore, Mission Mangal, Star Plus soap operas like Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Nazar, Kasauti Zindagi Kay and shows from Star Bharat like Savdhaan India along with News.

Getting people away from TV

With the new campaign, Hotstar says it is targeting the Tier-II and Tier-III cities which have been “fueling the growth of online video consumption in India.”
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It aims to get all those people on board who have lost access to paid channels after Telecom Regulatory Authority of India imposed new tariffs. While one set of the family may be hooked to these soaps, those within the same family who are interested in cricket may pay for the subscription. It is bad news for television channels too as it may lead to migration from traditional TV subscriptions to OTT.

“The next wave of growth for OTT platforms will come from smaller cities as adoption picks up. In fact, non-metros today outstrip metros in terms of video consumption. Through this campaign, our endeavor is to engage with our audiences further in Hindi-speaking markets and take digital video consumption to new frontiers,” said Varun Narang, Chief Product Officer, Hotstar.

Going all out

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Not just that, Hotstar is also planning to opt for door-to-door marketing in Tier-II and Tier-III cities using different mediums of marketing including billboard to advertise about their free library.

The campaign comes a week after Netflix removed free first month trial for their consumers. It is now offering a new plan to select new subscribers in India with the first month at ₹5. The offer is only available as an introductory offer to select new subscribers and not for existing users or anyone who is signing up again for premium subscription.

India is all set to witness a tough battle in the over-crowded OTT space this year. Hotstar, the leader of the OTT space, plans to break down its own record of 18.6 million concurrent viewers during the IPL season. It has also set aside ₹120 crore to make seven originals across languages. Whereas, Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos are upping their game by investing millions of dollars in originals. Zee5, on the other hand, is aiming to produce 80 originals this year.

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See also:
Netflix is losing to homegrown OTT players in India — as the country remains addicted to soaps and movies
Zee5 plans to release 80 original shows this year across Indian languages
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