Balaji Telefilms’ OTT platform currently has 35 million subscribers with nine million monthly active users
As more and more viewers join the online bandwagon to watch content, OTT platforms — both subscription and advertising driven — continue to benefit from the same. Balaji Telefilms’s SVoD platform ALTBalaji also benefited from this growth. According to Divya Dixit, senior vice president, revenue and marketing, ALTBalaji, has witnessed 36% quarter-on-quarter growth in FY21. “Lockdown was beneficial for us as TV wasn’t able to show fresh content while we were, this aided us in our growth. We are looking at an encouraging year as we expect our direct revenue and our subscriber base to double by the end of FY22,” Dixit added.
According to the BCG-CII report on the media and entertainment (M&E) industry, subscription based video-on-demand (SVoD) platforms registered a 55-60% growth in 2020.
As per the platform’s parent company Balaji Telefilms Limited Q3, ended FY21 earnings results, ALTBalaji posted 75% increase in active subscriber base to 2.1 million from 1.2 million, when compared to the same period previous quarter. It claims to have added 20,000- 22,000 subscribers per day. Dixit claims that the platform currently has 35 million subscribers with nine million monthly active users. Furthermore, the platform claims to have 34% retention rate – which is higher than the industry’s normal which averages at 24%. “Our aim for this year is to address the topline and bottomline both so that we will be able to break-even by the end of FY22,” she added.
ALTBalaji claims that up until the pandemic, 60% of the platform’s subscribers came from metros while tier 2 and tier 3 cities accounted for 40% of the subscriber base. However, after the lockdown, the platform saw a surge in subscriber base from tier 2 and tier 3 cities such as Lucknow, Ludhiana, Guwahati, among others. “Currently, 59% of our audience comes from ‘Bharat’, which is mass India. This development is a game-changer for our business because it’s not the metros but the non-metros “Bharat’ is what results in the growth of the company,” she claims.
With a library of content which includes 79 Hindi originals, ALTBalaji plans to launch over 24 original content this year to maintain its growth trajectory. Interestingly, the platform which had previously launched a few shows in regional languages seems hesitant to roll out anymore. yet. “Currently, our focus is to solidify ourselves in the Hindi heartland and once we have cemented our place in the top five OTT platforms, we will venture into regional,” Dixit stated. Last year, ALTBalaji had collaborated with ZEE5 in a co-production partnership for certain shows. Dixit claims that the platform is open to more collaborations and is already in talks for the same.
As for marketing, the streaming platform invests nearly 60-70% of their overall marketing budgets into the digital platform while the rest varies from webseries to webseries. For instance, a youth-centric show’s marketing will be done only on digital platforms, however, for a drama series the platform might consider traditional platforms. “Typically, we’ve always been digital first. This is the medium where our audience is hence this will get us subscribers,” Dixit explained.