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How Indian video streaming services are approaching pricing

Even as some streaming services boldly go where no VOD provider has gone before, and charge customers cold hard cash, it's still a race to the bottom. Hotstar has announced a promotional annual pricing of ₹1200 for its Premium subscriptions, which is around half the price of what 12 monthly subscriptions would be. This comes as newer streaming services like ALT Balaji and Amazon Prime Video aggressively compete on pricing to cater to India's cost-sensitive consumers. Even Netflix, which bills itself as a premium service, is gritting its teeth when faced with new taxes in India and hasn't changed its pricing. Here's a look at what the major streaming services' pricing in India is like right now: Hotstar ALT Balaji Amazon Prime Video Netflix Eros Now ₹199/month ₹33/month*† ₹42/month*† ₹500–800/month ₹49–99/month ₹1200/year* ₹300/year* ₹499/year ₹6000–9600/year† ~₹600–1200/year† * Promotional pricing that may be increased later † Subscription pricing for a different period adjusted How they're getting subscribers Until last year, Hotstar, which is probably India's largest streaming service, did not have any paid plans. It was fully ad-supported, and most of its current revenue probably comes from ads too. And digital payments haven't proliferated as much as the Indian government once hoped it would — the phrase 'cashless society' isn't thrown around as much these days — so streaming providers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do you charge users for your content and create a payment barrier that most users can't or won't cross; or do you just serve them ads like any…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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