Airtel said this deal will enable them to offer its subscribers more than 100,000 hours across live sports, movies and television shows across 9 languages through the Airtel TV app. This will include shows from Star’s network of 22 channels and over 3000 movies and television shows.
Following this deal, Airtel claims that it now has access to more than 350 live television channels and close to 10,000 popular movies and shows from India and across the world. This content will be available for free to Airtel Prepaid and Postpaid customers on a promotional basis until June 2018.
“We are delighted to have Hotstar onboard as a long-term partner in our endeavour to build a world-class digital content ecosystem. Their rich content library will add immense value to our content play and add to the user experience” said Sameer Batra, CEO – Wynk.
‘Airtel has among the widest consumer footprints in India and with our expansive content library, comprising rich programming that can cater across age groups, geographies, and interests, there are natural synergies and we are very excited about this partnership.’ said Ajit Mohan, CEO – Hotstar.
Hotstar Premium content?
What’s currently not clear is whether the deal also comprises of Hotstar’s premium movies and television shows from HBO and others, that is available to customers through a paid subscription service. Star India also has the global television and digital rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament.
An Airtel spokesperson told ETtech that Airtel TV will offer everything that comes under Hotstar. We’ve reached out Hotstar for more details on this partnership and will update once we hear back.
It’s worth noting that Airtel rival Reliance Jio also has a similar tie-up with Hotstar to offer latter’s premium content through its live television app JioTV. At the time of writing this article, JioTV still offers live streaming of Star Network’s television channels although we weren’t able to locate any premium content on the app.
Airtel’s content deals
This deal comes two months after Airtel signed a deal with Amazon to offer one year of Amazon Prime membership that includes Prime Video with its Airtel Infinity postpaid plans and Airtel V-Fiber Broadband customers. It also has tie-ups with video streaming players like Hooq, Eros, and Sony LIV.
Last week, ET had reported that that content will assume a larger role for Airtel’s long-term strategy to drive data consumption on its wireless as well as wireline networks.
“Our ambition is to build a world-class content ecosystem through partnerships with all players and offer best-in-class content at one place. We have two very solid OTT platforms to offer a seamless and intuitive content experience to complement our exciting high-speed data offerings,” Sameer Batra, CEO of Airtel’s content division, had told ET at the time.
On the flip side, Reliance Jio has picked up 24.9% stake in TV and film production house Balaji Telefilms for Rs 413 crore in July last year and added original content from Balaji Telefilms’ video streaming service ALTBalaji to its video offerings like Jio Cinema and JioTV last month.