Airtel has announced a partnership with ALTBalaji to make the digital video platform’s content available on the telco’s Airtel TV app. The deal will extend ALTBalaji’s original shows and its parent Balaji’s movies to the app’s users. Airtel has a similar partnership with Hotstar.
The Airtel TV app is available free for the telcos prepaid and postpaid customer till June 2018. It natively streams about 350 plus LIVE TV channels like Zee, Sony etc, and close to 10,000 movies and shows from India and abroad. The latest association is in line with Airtel’s push to strengthen its over-the-top (OTT) services. Earlier, the telco had tied up with video streaming provider Ditto TV and online publisher Juggernaut Books for content.
Competition in the telecom sector has now expanded into OTT services offered by these companies on their network. Telcos seem to be using the increasing popularity of video content in India to attract more users. A recent report by the Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) points to the popularity of audio and video content for entertainment on the internet, as 68% of the usage is for such content. Nearly 23% of all non-users consider indic content a key motivator to get online.
Another major player in the telecom sector, Jio, has a similar streaming app for its users. Recently, it secured rights for streaming cricket series live and for the winter Olympics. Recently, Jio began offering 10 GB data to users specifically for streaming on its JioTV app every month, in addition to their usual data plan. JioTV app has 583 channels, including 39 HD channels, in several Indian languages.
Vodafone also partnered with OTT player Yupp TV late last year to strengthen live TV offering on Vodafone PLAY, exclusively available to Vodafone users. It also has a deal with video on demand (VOD) platform HOOQ to add video content onto Vodafone Play. It also has content streaming partnerships with Eros Now and a tie-up with Amazon for offering Prime Video to its customers for a discounted subscription.