Since its launch in 2015, Hotstar has been widely touted to be the most popular digital entertainment platform in India. However, when Amazon and Netflix started investing a lot on regional and original contents in the country, Hotstar slowly started losing its dominance. In a bid to revive their market, Star India's digital streaming platform is now investing more than Rs 120 crore to produce original contents.
Hotstar, with monthly downloads of over 350 million, solely depended on films and television programs produced by Star India channels to maintain their viewership. But now, the company has apparently realized the need for producing original contents, and this has compelled them to invest a lot on this to survive in this highly competitive market.
"Till two or three years back, there were only 200 million screens available to consumers between TV, mobile phones, and theatres all put together. Today, given the data revolution in the past two years, content is being consumed over 600 million screens. The big change is that now there is at least one screen for each person in a large number of urban or rural household, who want content for themselves," Sanjay Gupta, the managing director of Star India told Economic Times.
Even though Sanjay Gupta did not reveal the exact amount which is going to be spent on original contents, close sources to Star India revealed that the initial sum which will be used will be Rs 120 crore, and if everything goes well, the company will pour in another Rs 50 crore.
Star India has named this initiative 'Hotstar Specials', and they will be looking to involve several noted celebrities in this. In the initial phase, Hotstar will work hand-in-glove with storytellers like Neeraj Pandey, Kabir Khan, Rohan Sippy, Nikkhil Advani, Ram Madhvani, Debbi Rao and Salman Khan for producing these original contents.
Star India is also in talks with more noted celebrities to become a part of this mega-budget initiative.