Hotstar, which surpassed 100 million downloads on Google Play Store earlier this year, has earned over Rs 1,200 crore in investments from parent Star India India’s largest broadcasting network. In the last six months, Star has pumped money into Hotstar in two installments, according to its filing with the Registrar of Companies, a ToI report points out. This investment comes at a time when global streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are ramping up their presence in the country. Hotstar, though, leads the market for now. Also Read - The Family Man Season 2 now on Amazon Prime Video: How to watch it for free (legally)Also Read - Best Netflix plan to watch June 2021 releases movies: Money Heist 5 and more
Star is said to be beefing up the core technology at Hotstar, which as many users have pointed out fails to match up to the premium viewing experience offered by Netflix. Hotstar also plans to increase its Originals portfolio, and is in talks with several production houses for associations. Netflix and Amazon Prime too have identified local language programming as the key to success in the Indian market. While Prime Video recently aired its first original Inside Edge from India, Netflix announced last month that its debut India production Sacred Games was on the floors. ALSO READ: Netflix records more non-US subscribers for the first time, expects overseas biz to turn a profit Also Read - Netflix could soon let you play games while watching your favourite movies/shows
Hotstar owns the India streaming rights for Game of Thrones that has taken the entertainment world by storm. The show has not only pushed Hotstar subscriptions priced at Rs 199 a month but also helped it add to its bouquet of international shows. But what really separates Hotstar from other international, and local streaming giants is its vast sports library. Earlier this week, Star India tipped Sony Pictures, Facebook, Reliance Jio and several others to win the global broadcasting and internet streaming rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) one of the most-viewed sporting tournaments in the world for an astounding $2.5 billion. ALSO READ: Hotstar to showcase exclusive Disney hits on its Premium service
This essentially means that Hotstar will be streaming almost all the cricket India plays until 2022. Additionally, it holds the rights for the ICC Cricket World Cup, the ICC World T20, the ICC Champions Trophy, and the ICC Women’s World Cup. That’s an incredible line-up, and would leave its rivals sweating. Sample this Facebook, which is increasing its focus on original videos, placed a bid of $600 million for the internet rights of the IPL. That was the highest digital bid, indicating how serious Facebook is about content on its newly launched Watch tab. However, an overall higher bid by Star ensured that IPL landed in Hotstar’s kitty.
And then there are global expansion plans taking shape too. That explains Star’s continued investments in the streaming service.