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NEW DELHI : Voot Select, the video streaming service owned by Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd, will stream Halo, based on a science fiction video game of the same name, starting 24 March. The show features Pablo Schreiber of Orange is the New Black fame, Natascha McElhone, Jen Taylor besides Shabana Azmi in a supporting role.

“Halo defined the beginning of gaming culture in India and has a cult following across the world. With Shabana Azmi helming a key role in the series, the show is even more special for Indian audiences. Having a series based around this legendary title will be looked upon eagerly by not only gamers but also sci-fi fanatics as well," Ferzad Palia, head – SVoD (subscription video-on-demand) and international business at Viacom18 said in a statement.

In an earlier interview with Mint, Palia had said that the platform will bank on a freemium, or mix of advertising and subscription-driven strategies to drive growth in the Indian market, where it competes with nearly 60 other OTT platforms.

Apart from web extensions of its TV properties, Palia said the platform will focus on sports as well as its slate of international programming, thanks to partners like CBS Corporation, with which Viacom had merged in 2019.

American films, television shows and programming in Turkish, German and Korean languages -- including their dubbed versions -- are emerging as a big draw on over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services, making up as much as 30% of overall viewership, said senior executives at several of these platforms.

While such international content finds ready takers among young urban Indians in the metros, those in small towns benefit from their dubbed versions in both Hindi and regional languages.

Netflix’s Extraction and The Kissing Booth have been popular in Hindi and Tamil as have Amazon’s The Boys, The Tomorrow War, Wonder Woman and Parasite. Walt Disney, too, has decided to tap smaller towns by making Disney+ (including Marvel) content available even on its cheaper price plans in India to expand reach.

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