Hotstar Gets 75-80% Watch Time from Non-Sports content

Video streaming platform Hotstar gets 75-80% of its watch time from TV shows and movie content even as sports continues to be a big driver of consumption on the platform.

“While sports do drive big viewing numbers for Hotstar, most of our consumption is on TV shows and movies. Over a year, 75 to 80 percent of all of our watch time comes from outside sports,” said Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan at the Asia Pacific Operators Summit (APOS) 2018.

He also revealed that Hotstar’s average watch time is 45 minutes to 60 minutes a day.

Hotstar, which is live streaming the Indian Premier League (IPL), has touched 7.1 million peak concurrent users and is eyeing the 8 million mark going forward.

This, Mohan said, is the largest number of simultaneous users for any event online excluding China. He also added that the Indian internet ecosystem will not be able to handle a traffic of 10 million concurrent users.

“At 10 million, I suspect many elements of the internet ecosystem in India would be tested and challenged. I think there is a path to 10 million, but I don’t want to test it,” he noted.

The platform’s skill-based game WatchN’Play for the IPL has been well received with more than 20 million people playing the game. “The proposition is not just watching the same content, it’s fundamentally changing storytelling,” he added.

Mohan also asserted that the success of Hotstar has dispelled the idea that long-form content does not work on mobile. “Fundamentally, consumers’ appetite is for great stories, for curated long-form content. That is the big proof of concept,” he stated.

To bring home the point, he pointed out that television content that air on its parent company’s vast broadcast network works well on Hotstar.

“It’s about great stories. We’re not seeing that people are consuming only one set of content. Consumers are watching Homeland and Hindi TV shows. Those boundaries don’t exist, those stereotypes don’t exist,” he said.

Technology has played a key role in Hotstar’s success. “We needed to become a technology company. We had to build serious technological capabilities inside the company. I don’t think it’s possible to build a platform from a patchwork of technology partners,” he said.

He also said that Hotstar has become a primary mode of content consumption for its core users. He also noted that the platform was being primarily used as a catch-up service.

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