MUMBAI: Within two years of launch, Balaji Telefilm’s digital venture ALTBalaji has figured that Indians don’t mind for paying for preferred content. In the highly competitive OTT space in India, the platform has successfully operated under a subscription-led model on the back of its edgy content. While the platform clocked revenue of Rs 7 crore in its first year, ALTBalaji CEO and Balaji Telefilms group COO Nachiket Pantvaidya expects this year to witness 6X growth compared to it.
“When we started the platform two years ago people said nobody would pay for content in India. We clocked revenue of Rs 7 crore in the first year. In the first three quarters of the second year, we clocked about Rs 28-29 crore and I think we will end the year at a number which will be 6X of the first year. We are very happy seeing the continued revenue growth,” Pantvaidya commented in a press meet while talking about highlights of ALTBalaji’s journey.
Pantvaidya also spoke about three types of content segments ALTBalaji is focussing on. The first is targeted at female audiences of age group 20-40 which is the platform’s “upgraded dramas” like Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain, Haq Se. The second type is of tentpole shows like The Test Case which attracts an international audience. The third one, consisting of shows like Gandii Baat, is focused on male audiences.
He also said that the platform doesn’t intend to reduce the show timings to less than 18 minutes per episode. It highly believes that returning seasons of popular shows have high values and so the platform will see returning seasons of at least six shows. Although 90 per cent focus is on Hindi content now, it will make its full-fledged foray into regional languages from January 2020. Adding to the existing 200 hours of* overall original content library, ALTBalaji will add at least another 200 hours of content in FY 2020.
In terms of viewership pattern, Pantvaidya said male and female audiences contribute equally but when it comes to paying for content there is a skew of 65-35 towards male. He also added that till now international audience contributes less than 5 per cent to viewership.
He also spoke about the platform’s two-fold strategy for international markets. According to him, one is the Western markets like the US or UK, where it gets viewership for tentpole shows. On the other hand, South Asian markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, where the content has been dubbed in local languages, have the potential to get volume on the platform.
“How to navigate partnerships and balance core acquisition with partnerships, how to effectively market in a competitive scenario, how to make it even more affordable to mass India- these are the three important subscription revenue strategic points,” Pantvaidya explained.
Currently ranked No.3 in the list of Top Grossing Video Streaming Apps in the country (Source: App Annie), ALTBalaji's subscriber base stands at 13.1 million, with 4.6 million monthly active users who spend an average of 70 minutes on the platform per day. The platform has consistently been amongst the top-5 grossing entertainment video streaming apps in India as per the Google Play Store rankings.



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Nachiket Pantvaidya
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