Viacom18 Digital Ventures’ online video streaming platform VOOT has gone live. The service is available as both a desktop website, and as mobile apps for Android & iOS. As of now, VOOT is free to use and uses an advertising business model, although the company mentions that it will evaluate freemium and subscription models in the future.

VOOT currently lists various Bollywood movies, new and old, as well as various Hindi TV shows. Interestingly, the platform also lists a ‘kids zone’ which features various cartoons like Dora the explorer, Chhota Bheem, Pokemon etc., as well as categories like Indian folk tales, bedtime stories, doodles, art and craft etc.

Although free, the website offers users a chance to create an account and login. This enables users to password protect everything but the kids zone. This is a pretty neat and unique feature that parents will likely appreciate, and we fully expect other VoD players to follow suit. Overall, the website interface appeared a little sluggish to us, but given that it says ‘beta’ we expect it to get better over time.

Original content: Viacom18 mentions that it will look to roll out shows in both long and short formats across genres as original content. It mentions that it has tied up with actors like Gulshan Grover, Baba Sehgal, Alok Nath and other scriptwriters, to develop these shows. As of now, the company provides content from COLORS, MTV and Nick.

Viacom18 had announced that it would launch a mobile video streaming platform VOOT in October 2015. Earlier this month, the company partnered with OTT solution provider Kaltura for video streaming, A Different Engine (ADE) for building its UI/UX; Web Dunia for website development and Robosoft to develop a mobile application for VOOT.

Play Plex by Viacom: Viacom in September 2015 said that it would be launching its own video-on-demand (VOD) platform called Viacom Play Plex in the fourth quarter of 2015. Once launched, Play Plex would offer a suite of mobile TV apps – a separate one for each TV channel – with content from international partners, and available across 180 of Viacom’s global territories.

In July 2015, Viacom appointed Gaurav Gandhi as its new COO; the appointment came at a time when Viacom launched a new digital business called Viacom18 Digital Ventures.

Recent developments in the VOD space

– Earlier this month, Spuul tied up with content providers like UTV-Disney, Yashraj Films, Reliance Entertainment, Balaji Telefilms, Indiacast, Shemaroo , B4U, Venus and Rajshri to enhance its regional content library.

– In the same month, mobile VOD company Vuclip launched Viu, a video on demand (VOD) service in India. It also added original content by launching Viu Originals in the same month, starting with a cricket comedy chat series called What the Duck.

– Last month, Zee Digital, the digital arm of Zee Entertainment launched a new video on demand (VoD) platform called OZEE. It currently lists over 350 movies, most of them old Hindi and regional movies; various videos including trailers, recipes, award shows etc.; and TV shows that are aired on Zee.

– In the same month, internet-based live streaming platform YuppTV partnered with NDTV to provide live digital content from four channels including NDTV India, NDTV 24×7 and NDTV Profit/Prime and NDTV Good Times.

– In late January, Netflix launched in India. It was made available to users for free, for a month, and at Rs 500 per month thereafter for non HD content, limited to one screen.

– In August 2015, HOOQ expanded its library and signed a multi-year deal with Sun TV. HOOQ also added over 1,000 Shemaroo video titles on its platform.

– In July 2015, digital entertainment company Hungama launched HungamaPlay, an application for streaming SD and HD movies on iOS and Android.