Star India’s Hotstar to share content with Airtel’s TV app

Star India’s digital business, Hotstar, will make content available via Bharti Airtel’s TV app.

The companies did not clarify if all content on Hotstar will be available or not. Given that it costs Rs 199 per month to access all content on Hotstar, that is unlikely.

This is the second tie-up that Hotstar, part of the media empire of Rupert Murdoch, has inked in India to ‘resell’ its content via apps.

It had tied up with Reliance Jio to make sports content available on Jio’s JioTV.

However, the tie-up with Bharti Airtel is deeper and includes the sharing of a lot of non-sports content, particularly in Indian languages.

Airtel said it now has 350 plus LIVE TV channels and close to 10,000 popular movies and shows from India and abroad.

“Airtel has forged partnerships with all leading broadcasters and production houses to bring the best of content on a single platform and offer a compelling experience to customers,” it claimed.

Hotstar will contribute 100,000 hours of content in 9 languages, comprising live sports and Indian cinema and TV shows from channels across the Star network. Content in languages such as Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu have been shared, the telecom operator said.

“This will include shows from 22 channels and over 3000 hit movies and shows,” Airtel said.

Hotstar’s content consists of broadly two types — Indian and non-Indian. A large chunk of its Indian content is available free to anyone who downloads the Hotstar app.

However, the majority of its Hollywood and US television content is only available for those who pay the monthly subscription of Rs 199.

Hotstar is one of the three main paid content apps in India, along with Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

Amazon Prime Video costs around Rs 1000 per year, while Netflix costs Rs 500 per month.

Thanks to its connections with the Murdoch empire, which includes brands such as Sky Broadcasting, NewsCorp, 20th Century Fox and Star, Hotstar has one of the biggest collections of premium content for any app in India. As a result, it has been able to withstand competition from Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The latest tie-up is among a spate of cross-licensing deals seen in recent times.

Reliance Jio, for example, recently tied-up with Balaji Telefilms to share its content with those who use Jio’s apps.

Unlike Hotstar, Amazon and Netflix, players like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone do not create their own content, and have to rely on others to provide the content.

All content on Airtel TV app is free for Airtel Prepaid and Postpaid customers on a promotional basis till June 2018.

Sameer Batra, CEO of Wynk said Hotstar has signed on as a long term partner.