Hotstar has launched premium subscriptions for Rs 199 per month offering exclusive selection of movies and TV shows, reports NDTV. Interestingly, the company launched the service with the new season of Game of Thrones, which is apparently uncensored on the app.
As of now Hotstar distinguishes paid content with a premium tag over such listings. It lists 31 HBO original shows, most of which are paid. Hotstar had tied up with HBO to stream HBO’s original content on the platform in December last year.
Other TV channel listings from Star India, Star Sports etc, are available for free but are ad supported (ad-free for members). The app is offering a free month of trial membership before users are required to pay. For now the app only supports credit card payments, leaving debit card users out in the cold. Hotstar currently claims to have over 50,000 hours of TV and movie content in 8 languages, including major live sports content.
Star India debuted Hotstar in January last year. In April, the company partnered with technology services giant Accenture to help develop, launch and deliver its on-the-air programming on its video streaming application and in November, it began its international expansion ??by entering the US, UK, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Malaysia and Singapore markets among others.
Exclusive cricket content: In December, the International Cricket Council partnered with Novi Digital Entertainment as the exclusive digital clips licensee for all ICC events from 2016 to 2019. Novi is a wholly owned subsidiary of Star India, which currently holds media rights for all ICC events which take place between 2016 and 2023. As a result of this partnership, Star’s video streaming platform Hotstar will exclusively live stream ICC events and provide other digital clips through the app.
Other developments in streaming:
– Last month, Vuclip launched Viu, a video on demand (VOD) service for Rs 99 per month, in India. Unlike Star, Vuclip has signed up with FreeCharge to make payments, making it much easier for users to pay for subscription.
– The same month, Balaji Telefilms partnered with Xstream, an OTT solution provider and Diagnal, another OTT company to power its yet to launch streaming service ALT Balaji.
– The same month, YuppTV partnered with Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) to provide digital content from Zee’s &TV channel. In December, it had launched YuppFlix, an on demand movie streaming service in all its regions of operation.
– In February, Zee Digital launched its own online streaming platform called OZEE.
– In January, Netflix launched in India. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had said that the company was planning to launch original Bollywood and animation programming aimed at non-US markets.
– In October, Viacom18 Digital Ventures anounced VOOT, a mobile video platform which would go live in the ‘coming months’ to broadcast Viacom18 content, and create original content programming.