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Balaji Telefilms plans to invest Rs 400 cr in OTT, eyes break-even with 4 mn subs in 3.5 years

MUMBAI: Balaji Telefilms is planning to invest up to Rs 400 crore in its over-the-top (OTT) venture ALT Balaji and is eyeing break-even in 3.5 years.

ALT Balaji, which is set to commercially launch on 16 April, will become profitable when it reaches a 4-million paid subscriber base in India and abroad.

Sameer Nair“We are looking to invest Rs 300-400 crore in ALT Balaji. We should break-even in 3.5 years when we have 4 million subscribers in India and abroad,” Balaji Telefilms Group CEO Sameer Nair told TelevisionPost.com.

The ad-free, subscription-based platform will initially charge Rs 30 per month. The key content areas for the platform are original shows, movies, kids and comedy. The first five episodes of every show will be available for free.

“We are charging Rs 30 per month as an introductory offer. The rate card is Rs 90 per month. The blended ARPU should be Rs 60,” Nair said.

ALT Balaji will offer 250+ hours of original content to its subscribers.

The media veteran said that the digital video business would be bigger than TV and movies by 2025.

The shows on the VOD platform are created by the best talent of Indian entertainment industry including critically acclaimed directors and actors.

Some of the original shows include ‘The Test Case’, ‘Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat’, ‘Bewafaa Sii Wafaa’, and ‘Boygiri’. Its original kids shows include ‘Ding Dong Bell’, ‘Moe Doe- The Frenemies’, ‘Happy Lucky Ki Katti Butti’ and Nursery Rhymes.

The-Test-Case,-Boygiri,-Romil-and-Jugal,-Karrle-Tu-Bhi-Mohabbat,-Bewaffa-Sii-Wafaa,-Dev-DD

The long illustrious list of artists includes Nagesh Kukunoor, Juhi Chawla, Nimrat Kaur, Rajkumar Rao, Hansal Mehta, Sakshi Tanwar, Ram Kapoor, Atul Kulkarni, Sameer Soni, Yudhishtar Urs, Dipannita Sharma Atwal and many more.

ALT Balaji, which will launch with six shows initially, plans to launch a new show every fortnight. The content pipeline is covered for next six months.

Shows in regional language are also in the pipeline. ‘Maya Thirrai’, a Tamil thriller drama, will soon be available to viewers.

ALT Balaji is a fully cloud-based VoD service that will be available across multiple connected devices with seamless cross-device user experience. It will also have parental control, allowing kids to watch kids content and giving them no access to other content.

Details of shows

  • ‘The Test Case’: Directed by National Film Award-winning director Nagesh Kukunoor, the show stars Nimrat Kaur as ‘the test case’ prepping to be the Indian Army’s first woman test case in a combat role. It is an inspirational story about her passion and struggle to prove her worth as a combative soldier. The impressive cast includes Juhi Chawla, Atul Kulkarni and Rahul Dev.
  • ‘Boygiri’: It is comic story of boys next door. ‘Boygiri’ is an authentic take on ‘men will be boys’ and the overarching awkwardness of being boys.
  • ‘Romil and Jugal’: This is ALT Balaji’s fresh take on Shakespeare’s famous tale of Romeo and Juliet, but with a twist. An emotional love story of two boys, Romil and Jugal, who hail from different family and cultural backgrounds.
  • ‘Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat’: Starring the famous duo Sakshi Tanwar and Ram Kapoor, this is a story of two diametrically opposite people who cross each other’s paths suddenly and how it has an everlasting impact on their lives.
  • ‘Bewaffa Sii Wafaa’: A matured, complicated extra-marital love story of two married people. This emotionally charged story opens multiple layers off marital relations and explores what happens when one of them finds loves outside marriage.
  • ‘Dev DD’: Imagine Devdas with a bottle of vodka, now replace Devdas with Devika Dharmendra Dwivedi! This is a twisted tale of Devika (Dev DD), who is not the so-called ‘good girl’ and loves everything that is complicated in life.

ALT Balaji is developed, designed and integrated by OTT specialist Diagnal. The platform is powered by Xstream’s cloud-based video management system, Xstream MediaMaker.

ALT Balaji has entered into a host of partnerships for billing and carriage.

It has partnered global mobile payments company Fortumo to ensure seamless payment of subscription fee. With Mobikwik, the company has done a payment wallet integration wherein users will get 25% cashback if the transaction for subscription is done through MobiKwik wallet.

It has also inked a distribution deal with ACT Fibernet wherein the broadband provider’s customers will be able to subscribe to ALT Balaji’s SVOD service as part of their broadband package and pay for the service through a consolidated bill every month.

As part of its strategic partnership with mobile handset brand Micromax, the ALT Balaji app will come pre-loaded with Micromax mobile handsets.

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