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Hotstar gets a dose of capital: 2018 sees infusion of $74 million

hotstar, netflix, star india

By Asmita Dey

With Hotstar s losses nudging Rs 400 crore in the year to March 2018, the capital infusion to the tune of $153 million from Star India and Star US Holdings Subsidiary, will come in handy. Documents sourced from business signals platform show the infusion in calendar 2018 was around $74 million. Hotstar s losses in 2016-17 stood at Rs 489.33 crore.

While Hotstar is the top video OTT app hosting nearly 150 million monthly active users during the months of April and May 2018, competition in the OTT space is intense. Boston Consulting Group estimates there are 32 contenders in India today, a more than three-fold increase over the nine players in 2012.

Hotstar s USP is the Indian Premier League (IPL); in the last season a record 10.3 million simultaneous viewers watched the finals. Driven by advertising, revenues are rising fast, seeing a 78% jump to `571.50 crore in 2017-18.

However, global players like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have upped their game in India.

Netflix, which started producing local original series in India with Sacred Games, has followed that up more content. It plans to release at least 10 original shows and films every year.

Amazon Prime which has been streaming the original Telugu series GangStars said recently it would create a content library in Kannada; that will be the sixth regional language to have a dedicated content library.

In April 2016, Hotstar introduced premium content on the platform, investing around $300 million in original content in 2017, higher than Netflix s investment of $70 million-$80 million and Amazon Prime s $70 million spend, BCG said.

The Walt Disney Company is in the process to acquire 21st Century Fox, which includes Star India. According to media reports, the merged entity will be called Star and Disney India. Experts believe Hotstar is the biggest attraction in Star India’s portfolio.

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Cheap data prices and rising smartphone penetration are expected to boost the domestic OTT market to $5 billion by 2023, according to analysts at BCG. Of the 3 billion smartphones across the world currently, the Indian market accounts for over 450 million. Almost 81% of consumers have up to three video OTT apps on their smartphones, the analysts said in a report.