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Murdoch launches ‘Hotstar’ for India

Star India is looking to capitalise on its sports properties and its international premium entertainment assets in a new pay-TV duo of OTT channels for India, and in direct competition to Netflix which has launched in India.

Hotstar’s OTT offerings are a mix of free and pay. Its English-language entertainment channel is already available, and today highlighted the OTT channel’s offerings by promoting HBO’s Game of Thrones and saying the latest episodes of the show would air “unspoiled and minutes” after its US debut. Modern Family and Veep are also amongst the premium offerings at a cost of 199 Rupees a month (about $3).

This fee is a fraction of that being levied by Netflix, which starts at Rupees 500 a month for SD streaming.

A sports-based service is also promised and tapping into Star India’s rights to various cricket events as well as English and German top-flight football.

“In India, Star’s ground-breaking Hotstar mobile video product recently crossed 60 million downloads and just launched a premium subscription tier, leveraging our exclusive rights to HBO originals, films and the Fox library. And over the next few months, the service will also include a premium sports offering,” 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch recently told analysts.

“We have been investing in the Indian business, but the sports investment in particular and in the digital investment with Hotstar, and we will continue to do so. That said, the peak investment year is really behind us and actually this fiscal year in 2016, you will see it will have been strong growth for Star overall over the last year and we expect that to continue,” Murdoch stated.

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