Hotstar offers free content, aims to thrive in Tier-II, Tier-III markets

Star India-owned over-the-top platform Hotstar on Tuesday announced a new 360-degree marketing campaign (Hotstar ka vaada, free entertainment sabse zyada) offering select free content, including movies, television shows and news, to users in ‘Hindi-speaking’ markets of Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Hotstar’s free content includes movies like Chhichhore, Mission Mangal; TV shows from Star Plus like Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hain, Nazar, Kasauti Zindagi Kay and Star Bharat like Savdhaan India along with News.

“The next wave of growth for OTT platforms will come from smaller cities as adoption picks up. In fact, non-metros today outstrip metros in terms of video consumption. Through this campaign, our endeavour is to engage with our audiences further in Hindi-speaking markets and take digital video consumption to new frontiers,” said Varun Narang, Chief Product Officer, Hotstar.

According to a company statement, there is a large section of consumers in Tier-II and Tier-III cities that do not have access to high quality entertainment and is limited to watching reruns of outdated content. While some have lost access to paid channels following the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) tariff order, others are plagued by infrastructure issues like frequent power cuts. This issue of access is further exacerbated by a single shared TV screen in large households. With the 360-degree campaign, Hotstar aims to bridge the accessibility gap for viewers.

“We see a huge opportunity in building awareness and encouraging trial across Tier II and Tier III cities around our vast and high quality library of free entertainment, and thereby, enabling a behaviour shift towards online video consumption. Hotstar’s free content will unlock a new world of entertainment for this audience which currently has to settle for outdated reruns on a limited set of channels,” said Sidharth Shakdher, EVP and Business Head, Hotstar.

To avail the free content, a user need to register or log-in to the app. Instead, download the Hotstar app on a supported device or access the Hostar website and stream the select free video content directly. The free content is available in full-length, but will stream only in standard definition. To stream in high definition, user need to register and purchase Hotstar subscription.

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