Novi Digital Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of Star India, which runs the video over-the-top (OTT) platform Hotstar, has reported a net loss of R409 crore in FY16 — its first full year of operation — according to the company’s filing with the registrar of companies (RoC). During the period, the company’s revenue stood at R185.7 crore.
The company started operations in February 2015 and posted a net loss of R77 crore on a revenue of R51.7 crore before closing FY15, so the figures aren’t comparable. When contacted, Star India declined to comment on the earnings. During the period, the company notched up a subscription revenue of R24.1 crore, while revenue from advertising was at R138.5 crore. It spent R154.6 crore on advertising and marketing.
In India, Hotstar directly competes with the likes of international subscription based video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos, amongst a host of other videoOTT players.
In April 2016, the company introduced premium content on the platform which includes HOB Original Series, apart from English films at R199 per month. It recently inked a multi-year SVOD deal with Disney India which includes streaming rights for movies like Lucasfilm Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney’s The Jungle Book and Moana, amongst others.
So far, Hotstar claims to have been downloaded by more than 140 million users.