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Balaji Telefilms plans to launch OTT service in Q4 of FY17

MUMBAI: Balaji Telefilms is readying to launch its over-the-top (OTT) streaming service ALT Digital in the early part of the fourth quarter of FY17.

The company’s content library at launch is expected to be over 200 hours, including curated content. It has commissioned a web series with leading international celebrity Nimrat Kaur, and the series is directed by Nagesh Kukunoor.

As of 30 September 2016, the company has invested Rs 21.6 crore (Rs 216 million) in the digital business. ALT Balaji is housed under Alt Digital Media Entertainment.

As reported by TelevisionPost.com earlier, 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. In fact, Balaji’s JV partner Chhayabani Balaji Entertainment is already working on a 13-episode Bengali web series for ALT.

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. The app is beta ready and enables the consumer to download content on the device.

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.

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

To launch and expand the digital media unit, Balaji recently 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 posted a net loss of Rs 1.8 crore in the fiscal second quarter ended 30 September compared to almost Rs 90 lakh (Rs 9 million) it posted in the previous fiscal year. EBITDA loss widened to Rs 4.3 crore compared to Rs 90 lakh.

Balaji had raised Rs. 150.08 crore from Atyant Capital India Fund – I, Vanderbilt University, GHI LTP Ltd., GHI HSP Ltd. and GHI ERP Ltd for the OTT platform. The company had allotted 10.72 million equity shares representing 14.1% of the company’s equity share capital.

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