News Corp owned Star India has re-launched its IVR portal, Star Plus on Mobile, on 24th February, and interestingly, has made it subscription based at a fairly reasonable price of Rs. 2 per day, and Rs. 10 per month (albeit, with fair usage limits). Previously, STAR was charging on a per minute basis, at Rs. 2 per minute. The IVR portal is accessible through the mobile short code 5057827, and is available on Vodafone, Idea, Tata Docomo, BSNL and Reliance; the plans will bundle free minutes ranging from 10 minutes in the daily plan to 30 or 60 minutes in the monthly plans, depending on the operator, after which the subscriber will need to re-subscribe to the plan.

Content Portfolio & User Experience

The IVR portal features three to four minute capsule summaries of all Star Plus shows including Pratigya, Sasural Genda Phool and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. These summaries are put on the portal a few hours after the telecast. It also serves related content such as audio blogs or personal diaries of all major characters from shows, music from the shows which is also downloadable and contests which offer prizes like gift vouchers or a chance to meet the TV stars. Interestingly, the IVR portal also lets users apply for jobs on Star, including acting in the channel’s shows. We tried the product out on Airtel (still pay-per-min at Rs. 2 per minute, alongwith Aircel). Listen to the recording, Star Plus On Mobile, here (mp3)*

Speaking with MediaNama, Lalit Bhagia,Vice President, New Media at Star, said that the content available had been developed after conducting consumer research surveys in various cities and towns including Bhopal, Varanasi, Lucknow and Delhi, which also helped determine the pricing. By moving to a reasonably priced subscription Star is going to target millions of subscribers, and there is no plan for incorporating advertising with the content. Although he did not reveal the revenue share arrangement with operators, Bhagia said that the revenue share favors the telecom operator. Star will be promoting the mobile portal starting with TV commercials on Star Plus.

Apps For Different Platforms

According to Bhagia, this is part of Star’s wider strategy to reach out to people through various mediums and across different geographies. Star is also working on digital apps for platforms like the iPad,  iPhone and other tablet devices and on connected TV boxes such as the Apple TV, PlayStation 3, Google Tv and Roku Box to reach out to Indians who do not have access to the network overseas.

Star intends to launch these apps in the next two to three months starting with the iPad and iPhone apps. Bhagia did not tell us whether the apps will be paid or ad supported and said that the pricing will be revealed at the time of the launch.

In the past Star’s other channel Star World had partnered with Hungama Mobile to offer archived audio episodes of Koffee With Karan on mobile at Rs 3 per minute. Star India had also said that viewers in UP were willing to pay as much as Rs 6 per minute for audio summaries of the show, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, as there were power cuts in the evening.

*Note: Audio recording published with permission from STAR India

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Updated: Hungama Launches Koffee With Karan On IVR; Why Not Mobile Simulcast?