Star India plans global launch of Hotstar with IPL
New Delhi: One of the ways that Star India Pvt. Ltd could possibly monetize its five-year Indian Premier League (IPL) deal worth Rs16,347.50 crore is through Hotstar, the company’s digital streaming service, which has consistently topped consumption rankings in India.
Data from app analytics firm App Annie Inc. showed Hotstar has ranked No.1 in terms of monthly active usage for the past 12 months.
Star India has plans to launch Hotstar in global markets and the popular T20 tournament could potentially be a lucrative launch property for the firm.
Star India on Monday won all media rights for the IPL for the next five seasons, outbidding rivals including Sony Pictures Networks India, Facebook Inc. and Bharti Airtel Ltd. Star India now has worldwide rights to broadcast and stream IPL.
Uday Shankar, chairman and chief executive at Star India, said Hotstar will start its first phase of global expansion in the next couple of months.
“We will launch it in a few international markets in the next couple of months,” said Shankar.
After the IPL deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Star India can stream IPL in seven regions outside India—Australia, New Zealand, West Asia, South Africa, the UK, the US and the rest of the world.
“Unlike India, which is a TV-heavy market, the revenue in international markets will come from digital first,” said Vinit Karnik, business head (entertainment, sports and live events), at media buying agency GroupM.
The platform started a paywall for all international content last year. Although IPL has so far remained free for users and is monetized only through advertising, Star India made an estimated Rs120 crore in ad revenue from IPL 10. In June last year, Hotstar started selling its most popular international TV series and films, largely from the 21st Century Fox library, for a monthly subscription fee of Rs199.
“For a lot of people who travel internationally if they have access to a product like Hotstar, it could be a game-changer for the company, given that sports is need-based content and currently absent in most markets even for Indians. And specifically the IPL should do very well in markets like Australia, New Zealand and the US,” said Indranil Das Blah, founding partner at Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions, a sports marketing firm.
Hotstar had won the internet and mobile rights for IPL by paying Rs302.2 crore for a three-year period from 2015 to 2017.