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Uday Shankar decodes Hotstar’s performance on the global stage

Hotstar made an impressive debut in the international scene at The Walt Disney Company’s Investor Day conference held in Burbank. Presenting Hotstar’s performance graph was Uday Shankar, President of The Walt Disney Company APAC, and Chairman of Star and Disney India.

Speaking at the investors’ meet, Shankar said that Hotstar today had crossed 300 million monthly active users (MAUs), making it one of the biggest video platforms in the world.

He added that Hotstar was ahead of the curve, accounting for as much as 40 per cent of the total long form digital video consumed in India. According to Shankar, Hotstar has been streaming over 100,000 hours of content across drama, movies, news, and sports. Sports, especially cricket has driven a major part of the engagement enjoyed by the OTT platform.

He further explained that Hotstar had managed to achieve the feat by anticipating the impending shifts (in data cost, smartphone penetration, and online video consumption) and built Hotstar. “We also kept mobile, and in particular Android (platform) at the center of our strategy, and created an app that was high quality, and feature rich, but which was also extremely light and nimble,” he elaborated.

Shankar added that the programming on Hotstar also helped since all the linear TV programming was available on the video streaming app almost simultaneously, and Star India ensured that the app was built for scale given India's population. The focus on scalability included driven advertising on the platform.

“The success of our strategy is evident in the improved performance of the IPL last season,” he said, adding, “IPL has seen a 50 per cent increase in revenues (TV and digital), and a 30 per cent increase in viewership in 2018 (over the 2017 edition).”

Shankar also spoke about the network's performance in television adding that the Star network captures 30 per cent share of all TV advertising in the Indian market. It's share of digital advertising in the country is also pegged around 30 per cent, while it claims to command a share of 40 per cent of all TV affiliate revenues in the country. TV affiliate revenue refers to Star's share of distribution revenues.

Highlighting the strength of the Hotstar platform, Shankar said that it has captured a 30 per cent share of TV advertising, along with 30 per cent share of digital advertising. Hotstar also has a 40 per cent share of TV affiliate. 

Presenting a break-up of the Indian market today, Shankar said India has been witnessing a GDP growth of 8 per cent CAGR and the curve is on an upward swing. Powering the markets as well as content consumption in India is the massive youth population below the age of 25 years – 600 million+ out of the total Indian population of 1.3 billion. 

There were 550 million video screens in India in 2018, which is projected to grow to 1 billion by 2023. In 2018, of the total video screens, 350 million were video active smartphones, while TV screens comprised 200 million.

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