MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indian video streaming service Hotstar sees its blended revenue model that relies on both subscription fees and ad sales as a winning formula in India’s fast-growing market, home to tens of millions of price-sensitive new internet users.
Advertising currently drives the bulk of Hotstar’s revenue, its Chief Executive Ajit Mohan told Reuters in an interview on Thursday, but he added that while the platform is keen to boost its ad sales, it will look to gradually boost its revenue share from those willing to pay a fee for its Hotstar Premium service.
“There is no animal like Hotstar in many markets. Streaming platforms that are at scale are usually behind a paywall. We are an anomaly, where as a marketer, the fact that you can advertise against such high quality premium content is fairly unique,” said Mohan.
The streaming platform, owned by Twenty-First Century Fox’s Star India arm, launched in India in 2015 about a year ahead of streaming giant Netflix, and nearly two years ahead of Amazon.com’s Prime Video debut in the country – and it remains well ahead of both in terms of its popularity with domestic users.
It has achieved this by offering exclusive premium content like HBO hit show “Game of Thrones” and live-streaming India’s massively popular T20 cricket league and English Premier League action for an annual subscription of just 999 rupees ($14.20). The cheapest Netflix plan in India costs 6,000 rupees annually.
“We do not want to build a niche subscription product. We’re not solving for just the top-end of the country,” said Mohan. “We want to create a…