Hotstar’s new VIP subscription plan revolves around how users in India consume video

Hotstar’s new VIP subscription plan revolves around how users in India consume video
Hotstar just introduced a new 'Hotstar VIP' annual subscription plan in IndiaHotstar Official Website

  • Hotstar’s new ‘VIP’ subscription plan cuts out international content but only costs ₹365 a year.
  • It does include viewership of ‘Hotstar Specials’ — original content that Hotstar is producing for its online platform — and live streaming of the Indian Premier League.
  • And, since it also includes Star’s Indian language content from TV, it’s in line with consumers looking to catch up on their shows.
Hotstar has a new ‘VIP’ subscription plan that costs ₹365 per year. That’s nearly a third of its normal annual subscription of ₹999. The Hotstar VIP plan includes all of the platform’s Indian language content, original content that falls under ‘Hotstar Specials’ and live streaming of the Indian Premier League.

Its only drawback is that the VIP plan doesn’t include international content. But, that might not be what most users are looking for anyway. Currently, 45% of users in India consume regional language content according to the Indian OTT Platforms Report 2018.

And focusing on regional content, original content and live cricket streaming is pretty safe bet to increase subscription considering how users in Indian consume video online.
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Since the VIP plan includes all the Star shows that generally broadcast on TV, the plan is also ideal for users who primarily use the service to catch up on their favorite shows. An EY analysis shows that catch-up TV accounts for 70-90% of the total content viewed on the online platforms of large broadcasters — like Hotstar.

Being local


The 199 million users Indian consumers who will access the internet in English by 2021 dwarf the 536 million users who are expected to use regional languages for online services. Aside from Hindi, Marathi and Bengali are expected to be the drivers of growth as well as per a report by KPMG and Google.

According to a CRISIL report, even now, video viewership in India is dominated by regional languages, primarily Hindi. So digital players, like video streaming platforms, are looking for new approaches to access the burgeoning rural market — such as focusing on existing content and creating new content in local languages.

Original content

Hotstar made some of the biggest investments for creating original content in 2018. ₹120 crore has exclusively been earmarked by the company for ‘Hotstar Specials’. But, Hotstar has a long way to go before it can catch up to the global players like Netflix and Amazon in terms of volume.

Deloitte predicts that original programming is going to be a key driver for the Indian market and that people are willing to spend for original content. FICCI even describes original content as of the pillars of an OTT platform.

Honing in on cricket

Sports content has been a key driver for the video streaming platform.

Just last year, during the Indian Premier League 2018 matches, Hostar set a new global benchmark of 8.26 million concurrent viewers during the match between teams from Chennai and Hyderabad. It was well worth the ₹12.33 billion investment they made to win the rights to stream the live cricketing event.

Overall, more than 202 million users came online to watch the Indian Premier League in 2018 and the average time spent watching the cricket event up from 30-35 minutes during the ninth season to 40-45 minutes during its tenth season.

Hotstar’s new VIP subscription plan revolves around how users in India consume video
Distribution between online and offline viewership of the Indian Premier League's tenth season on Hotstar

SonyLIV is the only competitor in the Indian market attempting to take on Hotstar when it comes to sports streaming and between both of them, there were approximately a million paid sports subscribers in 2018.

Hotstar also has a facet of interactivity where it also users to play along as the cricket matches are streamed on the platform through its ‘Watch’NPlay’ game.

The Twenty-First Century Fox-backed streaming platform already leads the Indian market in downloads and monthly average users. The new plan should help Hotstar garner more subscribers and expand its penetration in the Indian market where cheaper availability of data is expected to expand the video streaming market to $5 billion by 2023.

Hotstar’s new VIP subscription plan revolves around how users in India consume video
Most popular video streaming apps in India by downloads and monthly average users (MAUs)

See also:
Netflix is testing its cheapest ever plan in India — Here’s why it might work