Hungama has joined the club — it has entered the original video content market in India. On Wednesday, the entertainment company’s video-on-demand service Hungama Play will release the first of its four original web series. Although this is the first venture into original long-form video content, it has a music streaming service called Hungama Music, and has streamed short-form video content before.
The first four shows announced by Hungama will be in a mixture of Hindi and English. The entertainment company also plans to create original content in other major Indian languages as well.
Original content in India
The original video content market is catching on in India — the video streaming market is populated with recent and older players. Netflix India announced three new Indian shows in February 2018, and has a total roster of over six upcoming Indian shows. Amazon signed on 14 comedians in 2017 for its subscription service Amazon Prime Video. Balaji TeleFilms launched its own video on demand app ALTBalaji in February last year. There are several other players such as Hotstar by Star India, Voot by Viacom 18, Viu by VuClip, ZeeFi, Hooq, Eros Now, among others.
Hungama offers a paid subscription on its own starting at ₹60/week and also on hardware and telco partners. The shows will stream on Vodafone Play, Idea Movies & TV, AmazonFire TV Stick and other Android TVs, thanks to Hungama’s aforementioned partnerships.
Vuclip, a California-based streaming company, which launched Viu in India in 2015, has released original content in Hindi and Telugu, and has also produced two shows by Vikram Bhatt. Voot released an original in 2016 and got exclusive rights to air Bigg Boss 10 in 2016.
Content partners for streaming
Several video streaming apps partner with third parties and OTT solutions platforms to distribute their video content to as large an audience as possible. In 2017, Videocon’s DTH arm integrated Hungama Play into Videocon D2H’s ‘HD Smart Connect’ Set Top Box (STB). Around 35,000 hours of video content from Hungama Live in 12 languages including movies, television series, kids shows, music videos, etc. become available on Videocon D2H.
Amazon’s Fire TV streaming stick, which was launched in 2017 in India, added Vuclip’s streaming service Viu as an app on its platform. Amazon also signed a content deal with Disney India to get rights for Marvel and ABC content on Amazon Prime Video. Eros Now has content distribution partnerships with Vodafone Play, Reliance Jio and Idea Cellular.
Ola Play, the ride-hailing service’s in-car entertainment system, incorporated streaming services Eros Now and ALT Balaji for riders. In May, ALTBalaji also partnered with YuppTV to reach Indian expats. ALTBalaji has partnered with Jio, Vodafone and Airtel to make their content available in those telcos’ aggregator apps.
The growing popularity for regional content
In 2017, Vuclip’s video on demand service, Viu entered the regional content space with the launch of Originals, both in long and short form, beginning with Telugu. Viu’s catalogue in India mostly comprises non-exclusively licensed Hindi films, South Indian films dubbed into Hindi, and a sizable catalogue of Telugu films.
In 2016, online video streaming platform Spuul tied up with content providers like UTV–Disney, Yash Raj Films, Reliance Entertainment, Balaji Telefilms, Indiacast, Shemaroo, B4U, Venus and Rajshri to enhance its regional content library.
In 2016, Hotstar had added 4,000 hours of Malayalam content including movies and popular TV shows across genres to its library.