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Balaji Telefilms’ investments and preparation for launch of OTT service

MUMBAI: Balaji Telefilms Ltd has invested Rs 30.7 crore in its OTT venture and continues to add original and exclusive content in preparation for its launch.

Testing of the services is on ahead of the commercial launch of ALT Balaji. The OTT platform is expected to launch in the exit quarter of this fiscal.

The content library at launch will have six original shows and some curated content totaling over 200 hours of content.

ALT Digital Media Entertainment, which houses the digital business of Balaji Telefilms, is entering into marketing and distribution tie ups with leading smartphone OEMs, telcos, ISPs, e-commerce and payment partners.

ALT Digital has invested Rs 30.7 crore as of 31 December 2016. It has also invested Rs 111.5 crore in mutual fund units.

ALT posted a net loss of Rs 4.5 crore in the fiscal third quarter ended 31 December, up from a loss of Rs 1.8 crore in the trailing quarter. Net loss for the nine months of FY17 stood at Rs 7 crore versus a loss of Rs 2.6 crore a year ago.

EBITDA loss widened to Rs 5.5 crore from Rs 4.3 crore in Q2 of FY17. Operating loss for the nine months of the current financial year stood at Rs 13 crore versus Rs 2.5 crore a year ago.

There has been an increase in costs as the company scales up for commercial launch. Since ALT Balaji has not yet launched, there is no income for the company.

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

ALT Balaji will have a mix of subscription-based and premium ad-supported models. The OTT platform will initially have 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 the audience.

The digital platform will focus on various genres including thriller, comedy, dramatic love stories and kids programming. It will tackle subjects not seen on TV.

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

ALT Balaji’s content will be created for 32 different interfaces spanning mobiles, computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, game stations, or 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.