ALTBalaji to launch over 100 hours of original content in 2018

MUMBAI: Balaji Telefilms-owned over the top (OTT) platform ALTBalaji is looking to scale-up its original content offering by launching over 100 hours of original content in 2018. The platform is working on 50 new concepts in order to churn out more shows in 2018.

The upcoming shows includes ‘Apaharan’, ‘Ghost Who Bombs’, ‘Toxic’, ‘Mentalhood’, ‘Kasam’, ‘Mehrunissa’, ‘Vardiwala Gunda’, ‘Home’, ‘Frenemies’, ‘Mint’, ‘Verdict’, ‘Kaal Se Daaru Band’, ‘Puncchbeat’, ‘Broken’, ‘Ek Hi Bhool’, ‘Mangalyaan’, ‘The Family – it’s a bloody business’, ‘FCUK’, Fitrat’, ‘Kapoors and The Great Indian Dysfunctional Family’. The line-up will also include second seasons of existing shows ‘Dev DD’, ‘Haq Se’ and ‘Kehne Ko Humsafar Hai’.

Talking to about the content strategy for 2018, ALTBalaji chief marketing officer Manav Sethi said, “We are currently working on 50 concepts and going by that we will see how many we can launch by the end of the year. But, overall we are launching 100 hours of original content.”

He further stated that ALTBalaji has been very aggressive in creating original content. “If we look at last year, nobody has been able to launch the number of shows that we have launched. From a content standpoint, our focus remains on the original shows. We are closely watching which are the other concepts that are coming out in the market. Which are the stories that have not been told earlier and which are the stories that are waiting to be adapted and converted into the shows,” he noted.

Sethi also pointed out that the platform will launch shows targeted at male audience. Drama and thriller are the staple diet for the platform.

In FY18, the platform had launched 17 original shows in addition to kids and stand-up comedy content. The platform witnessed 800 million minutes of video consumption with an average watch time of 120 minutes per user.

The platform debuted in South Indian market with the launch of dubbed content in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam language. It had also launched its first original web series ‘Dhimaner Dinkaal’ in Bengali.

Apart from Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Bengali, ALTBalaji is also eyeing the Bhojpuri market with the launch of the new show. The show will feature a popular Bhojpuri actor and will be based on a bestselling novel. “We are planning to enter the Bhojpuri market with an original show. The show we are working on is very massy in nature and will be launched soon,” Sethi added.

The ad-free, subscription-based platform is available in over 90 countries, since its launch. Strengthening its foothold in the international market, AltBalaji is gearing up to launch in Indonesia. The platform will dub its original shows in Bahasa. “We will be doing a formal launch of our platform in Indonesia and Asia, soon. Apart from that, we will be doing some focussed efforts in US, UK, Middle East and Bangladesh,” he stated.

Internationally, ALTBalaji has seen good traction in markets such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, US, and UAE. Whereas, in India, the OTT platform has witnessed high consumption from Tier I and Tier II cities, apart from Top 10 metros.

“We are also seeing that lot of shows are being consumed while on the move than the stationary location like a lot of people are watching the shows in metros and cars while they are going to work. Also, now there is no such thing as prime time hours which was there earlier during the TV days. We see a spike in afternoons and early evenings as well,” Sethi said.

ALTBalaji has crossed the 1 million paid subscribers mark within a year of launch. The service was launched on 16 April 2017. The total paid users at the end of March 2018 were at 1.2 million excluding Reliance Jio platform users. This number has increased to 2.5 million in just 40 days from April.

ALTBalaji’s revenue for the exit quarter was Rs 3.7 crore compared to Rs 1.1 crore in the third quarter. Net loss widened to Rs 29.5 crore as against Rs 5.4 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal.

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