Balaji Telefilms’ digital company ALT Digital has finally launched its app, ALT Balaji on the Google Play Store. As planned earlier, the app has launched with content in Hindi, English and in regional languages (presently only Tamil). Balaji Telefilms has been postponing the launch of its video streaming service. The company was due to launch the app in June 2016.

Content catalogue

On checking the app, we noticed that the content categories include shows (Indian and international), movies, kids, and comedy. All original content in all categories carry the tag #itsoriginal on the thumbnail.

On the list of shows, the app presently shows five original with the sign coming soon – DEV DD, Romil, and Jugal, Once Upon A Night, Boygiri and Maya Thirai (Tamil). The shows that are available on the platform for immediate viewing are English and Korean shows. In the kids content category, following are the original show listed with the sign coming soon – Koe Doe the frenemies, Nursery Rhymes and Happy Lucky. The other available kids shows include animated Shaktimaan (in Hindi and English), Little Krishna (in Hindi and Tamil) and Mademoiselle Zazie.

Privacy policy for Kids content:

The section on Minor’s personal information under the privacy policy notes that email address and age of minors will be collected to send them newsletters and engage with them in other limited ways. Interestingly, the privacy policy also directly addresses minors asking them to obtain permission from their parents or guardians in case they wish to share their personal information for any contest or promotion. The question is will a minor actually read the document and understand it to ask a parent for permission. Considering the app is not an exclusively children’s app, there may be chances of the child also accessing adult content. It is not clear if there are parent controls on the app for the child’s usage to be monitored.

Subscription or rental?

Free and paid content, both can be accessed only after signing into the app. Though most content seems to be free on the platform, access to some films like Azhar can be accessed at Rs.30. Users need to sign in to rent and watch paid content. It is not clear though if the fee will give the user access only to a particular film or a library of content from the platform.

Other developments with ALT Balaji:

In November 2016, ALT Digital had announced that the first of its web series will be about the Indian armed forces. This series will be directed by Nagesh Kukunoor and star Nimrat Kaur.

In March 2016, Balaji Telefilms had partnered with Xstream, an OTT solution provider and Diagnal, another OTT company to power ALT Balaji. Note that ALT is Balaji Telefilms’ second attempt at going digital. The company had launched a series of digital initiatives in June 2010, with a show called Bol Niti Bol, which was similar to a YouTube success that time called LonelyGirl15.