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Hotstar to produce originals as it feels the pressure from Netflix and Amazon India

Hotstar logo from the app

The over-the-top (OTT) platforms in India are growing by the day. There is no denying that these platforms will be the main source of entertainment in the coming days. Televisions will have Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, JioTV as their primary channels and this day is not far. Judging by the growth of this platform in India, it is going to happen sooner rather than later. That said, Netflix and Amazon Prime might be leading the current line of OTT platforms but Hotstar, the Star Media owned application is not far behind.

The only thing Hotstar lacks is original content. Whereas Netflix and Amazon Prime have abundance of original content. Netflix first produced its original in 2011 and hasn’t stopped since it produced 160 Netflix originals in 2016 alone. That said, making original content is not an easy task, the Indian viewers are very picky when it comes to series and web content. Netflix has managed to garner a lot audience with some gripping content.

Hotstar will look to rope in some great directors but the budget will be a huge problem. It has a lot of subscriptions as it has around 150 million monthly users and it is the highest downloaded application amongst the OTT platforms. It has up till now only covered sports, catch-up content and also some of the Hollywood series which are very well received. That said, 80% of the viewers on Hotstar are movie and Drama viewers. This has urged Hotstar to create original content.

Sanjay Gupta revealed that for ‘Hotstar Specials’ as it is going to be known, the budget will be about INR 120 crore. If the specials are well versed and are accepted around the country then it can be increased by another INR 50 crore.

That said, Hotstar has roped in a bunch of directors and writers. There are some talented writers from Bollywood which have given some amazing hits. There are directors like Kabir Khan (Ek Tha Tiger), Shekhar Kapur (Mr. India), Nikhil Advani, Ram Madhvani (Neerja), Venkat Prabhu, Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday). There are some talented actors as well and the biggest news is that it has roped in Salman Khan for their specials. The role is not yet mentioned but he will be a part of the original content. This will not be the first time Hotstar will roll out original content. They had produced Sarabhai vs Sarabhai take 2, Tanhaiyan and also On Air with AIB.

Hotstar recently had received a hefty investment in it. The investment was taken care off by Star US Holdings. That very month, Nikhil Madhok joined Hotstar as content head for originals. The original content is being produced right now and will hit the screens by the end of the first quarter.

-Unmesh Phule

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