Popular video streaming platform from Star India, Hotstar has launched in the United Kingdom. The launch comes ahead of the Asia Cup cricket tournament starting on Saturday. Hotstar is now available in four markets including India, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Hotstar in the United Kingdom: What to Expect?
Hotstar confirms that it will include more than 60,000 hours of television shows, and offer over 2,000 Indian movies. Users in the United Kingdom will be able to watch live sports such as Cricket, Badminton, Kabaddi, Hockey, and along with all the major sports events.
However, note that the access to the content on Hotstar is country-restricted. This means that the users who get their Hotstar subscription in the UK will be able to stream the content in the UK only. In comparison, Netflix changes its content catalog based on the country.
Hotstar Subscription Plans in the United Kingdom
The video streaming service can be subscribed through two different plans – a monthly plan worth £11.99 and a yearly membership at £59.99. This launch comes as Star India reconstructs its marketing strategies to ensure growth. The company has divided the streaming platform into two business verticals – advertising-led video-on-demand (AVOD) and subscription-led video-on-demand (SVOD). The two verticals will be headed by executive vice-president-level business heads, ET reported. Earlier in July, the company had received an infusion of Rs 516 crore from Star US Holdings.
Competing with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Voot, ZEE5, Hotstar has been facing losses, which is creating pressure on the company to get more paid subscribers. As reported by ET, “For the financial year 2017- 18, Hotstar parent company Novi Digital had posted a total loss of Rs. 389 crore on revenues of Rs 571 crore, as compared to Rs 489 crore loss on revenues of Rs 320 crore in FY17”.
However, the company also registered revenues of Rs 569 crore in the June quarter owing to the advertisement and subscription revenue from the IPL tournament. The company had exclusive television and digital rights to the Indian Premier League tournament. Commenting on the matter, a top executive of Star India said, “Hotstar had a very good first quarter, thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL). However, now the question is how to retain subscribers. While catch-up TV has good traction, it is all free and retaining customers in absence of original content is a tough task.”
However, IPL cannot be the only event the company could depend upon. Star India has been working on restructuring its video streaming service for a while now. An analyst keeping tabs on this sector said, “Hotstar is showing healthy growth in revenue year-on-year, but its cash burn and accumulated losses are very high. With Netflix, Prime Video, Eros Now, Alt Balaji, VOOT, Viu and ZEE5 all investing on original content, the competition is only going to get tougher. Apart from IPL, there is very less content on Hotstar for which a price-sensitive Indian consumer would want to pay, which is a big challenge for them.”
Voot to Launch in the UK in November 2018
Expanding the market might work in favor of Hotstar, but it cannot escape competition. Voot, Viacom18’s video-on-demand platform is also ready to make an International debut by launching in the United Kingdom in November this year. The service will be paid and will be launched in partnership with Virgin mobile. At the time of launch, the video-on-demand will be exclusive to Virgin Mobile users in the country. It will be made available to all users through the Apple App Store and the Google Play store later. The company has not provided any more details on the matter. Hotstar gets a good bandwidth to establish itself in the UK before Voot arrives.