Airtel brings TV, streaming together in converged platform Xstream2 min read . Updated: 02 Sep 2019, 06:13 PM IST
- Airtel Xstream is a revamped version of the Airtel TV app offering a new user interface and a content catalogue
- Airtel Xstream stick, priced at ₹3,999, is an Android-based OTT stick that also provides access to Airtel’s movie roster and OTT library
NEW DELHI : In an effort to address India’s television and video streaming audience growing parallel to each other, telecommunications company Bharti Airtel has launched a converged digital entertainment platform, Xstream.
The new service will play out in three formats. First, there is the Airtel Xstream app which is a revamped version of the Airtel TV app offering a new user interface and a content catalogue with around 400 live TV channels, 10,000 movies and shows from streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, ZEE5, HOOQ, Eros Now, HungamaPlay and others.
Second is the Airtel Xstream stick, priced at ₹3,999, an Android-based OTT (over-the-top) stick that also provides access to Airtel’s movie roster and OTT library, in addition Airtel’s Wynk Music’s catalogue. Airtel Thanks Platinum and Gold customers get complimentary access to the content subscription plan on the Airtel Xstream stick. All other customers get free access to the content for the first 30 days and will need to subscribe to a ₹999 annual plan for the catalogue to be available to them.
Then comes the Airtel Xstream box that is equipped with around 500 TV channels as well as the telco’s OTT library. Also priced at ₹3,999, it comes with a voice control enabled remote and hot keys for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube. The box offers a complimentary one-year subscription (worth ₹999) to all Airtel Xstream app content in addition to a one-month subscription to an HD DTH pack. Existing Airtel Digital TV customers can upgrade to the Airtel Xstream box for ₹2,249.
The firestick and box will be available on e-commerce sites like Flipkart and Amazon, besides all Airtel stores, the company’s website and retail chains like Chroma and Vijay Sales.
To be sure, the Airtel strategy to capture the country’s growing television and digital audience in one go isn’t entirely new. Amazon already has the Amazon Fire TV Stick which is a media player that plugs into an HDTV and lets customers access Prime Video, Netflix, Hotstar and other content that it comes pre-loaded with. Direct-to-home service Tata Sky is also making its content available online through its own subscription based service called Binge.
“While the US is already familiar with the phenomenon of cord-cutting, India is a unique and diverse market in the sense that people are still watching content across platforms, on the move and at home," said Adarsh Nair, chief product officer, Bharti Airtel. According to the KPMG media and entertainment industry report 2019, while digital media grew at a rate of 43.4% in FY19 to reach ₹173 billion, the TV segment also rose by 9.5% to touch ₹714 billion. Airtel says the immediate target for Xstream is urban India but it should eventually penetrate all of the country.
“This is a new beginning for our entertainment product strategy. As we enter the era of 5G, this not just seems like a sensible decision for the market but good preparation for the future as well," said Sunil Taldar, CEO and director, Airtel DTH.