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General News Balaji Telefilms’ ALT gameplan
[Image: urzzdKz.jpg]MUMBAI: Production company Balaji Telefilms is planning to launch its over-the-top (OTT) platform ALT Balaji in October this year and is building capability to have 250 hours of original programming and 32 series.

Targeted at upmarket and urban audiences, the OTT platform will initially offer English and Hindi content. Going forward, it will have regional content in Tamil, Bengali and Telugu in order to cater to a wider spectrum of audiences.

In addition to creating content in-house across age groups, it is signing up with creative outfits, including online video producers, for co-branded content to be broadcast on ALT Digital.

According to a source, Chhayabani Balaji Entertainment is already working on a 13-episode Bengali web series for ALT. Chhayabani Balaji Entertainment is a subsidiary of Balaji Telefilms with Kolkata-based Chhayabani Pvt Ltd.

The digital platform will have a multiple genre play, which includes thrillers, comedy, dramatic love stories and kids programming. It will also tackle subjects not seen on television.

ALT Balaji, housed under Balaji Telefilms’ subsidiary Alt Digital Media Entertainment, will be a mix of subscription-based and premium ad-supported models.

The app is beta ready and enables consumers to download content on the device. ALT Balaji’s content will be created for 32 different interfaces spanning mobiles, computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and game stations. Consumers can also use an HDMI cable to mirror the high-resolution content on internet-ready TV sets. The content will be available across nine different speed profiles.

Besides developing its own platform, Alt Balaji is in advanced talks to seek synergistic associations and partnerships with leading technology and video distribution platforms.

To launch and expand the digital media unit, Balaji has raised Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.5 billion) by issuing preference shares to global investors like Atyant Capital India Fund I, Vanderbilt University, GH, GHI LTP Ltd, GHI HSP and GHI ERP.

“Our foray into the digital space is aligned to our strategic intent to tap into the growing digital video phenomenon. This is the place where we bring our unique storytelling strengths to create compelling content and deliver it directly to audiences, who are always connected and seek quality, original entertainment in new formats,” Balaji Telefilms joint MD Ekta Kapoor stated.

“The idea behind ALT Digital is to build a direct-to-consumer model through the net. It is about drama and programming for the upmarket, urban audiences. The Indian fiction scene is exploding with ideas and writers, but TV by its nature limits the creative exploration possible. Liberated and liberal content for liberated viewing, that’s where ALT Digital figures in,” she added.

Balaji Telefilms group CEO Sameer Nair expects the digital business to be bigger than the company’s TV business by 2025. He believes that digital is the way forward and ALT Digital should be the company’s biggest revenue earner.

Balaji is well resourced to launch the OTT service after the recent preferential allotment to global investors, Nair stated.

Some of the key players in the Indian OTT space are Hotstar, Sony Liv, Voot, OZEE, dittoTV, YuppTV, Spuul, Netflix, HOOQ, Eros Now and Hungama Play.

Subscription VoD is a growing opportunity, with researchers putting OTT subscribers in India to be 15 million in FY2015. This is projected to reach 105 million by FY2020.

According to a Deloitte report, an average mobile web user consumes about 6.2 hours of media daily. This includes 102 minutes of mobile media and 79 minutes of desktop PC-based media consumption.

Regarding the total time spent on digital media, about 21% of the surfing time is spent on audio and video entertainment.


Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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