Arnab Goswami’s Republic will be the first Indian news channel to live stream on Hotstar, and also the first one that is not part of the media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s empire. Republic will join Fox News, Fox Business, and the UK’s Sky News as the fourth news channel on the platform. The network is also free to air, meaning that it won’t charge cable and satellite TV operators for airing the channel. Hotstar has been live-streaming sports ever since it was started, but not news.
Launching Republic on the platform “fills a big gap in our portfolio”, Star CEO and chairman Uday Shankar said. Goswami said, “We believe the coming together of these two exciting brands and services will take the news to the 90 million-plus viewers on Hotstar every month”. Indicating that even more news channels will be added soon, Star CEO Uday Shankar said that a category for news channels will be added on Hotstar.
Indian news channels have always been available online, either on their websites, or on apps like JioTV. News18 India (CNN News18’s Hindi-language sibling) and Doordarshan National, for example, are both available live on YouTube. Neither channel attracts significant simultaneous views on the website, though. How Hotstar promotes Republic to its millions of monthly active users will play a significant role in the channel’s performance online.
Arnab Goswami left Times Now, the channel he helped found and served as editor-in-chief for over a decade, to start Republic. The channel, which he has frequently indicated will be nationalistic, “pro-army”, and “pro-India”, is expected to launch tomorrow, according to news reports that claim to have reviewed internal correspondence by the channel’s employees.