×

Hotstar, Fox’s Indian Streaming Service, Moves Into Original Content With Big-Name Talent

Fox and Star India’s leading OTT platform, Hotstar, is partnering with a plethora of top Indian talent to create original programming under the brand Hotstar Specials, the company announced Monday.

Filmmakers who have signed up to create content for Hotstar include Shekhar Kapur (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”), Neeraj Pandey (“M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story”), Kabir Khan (“Tubelight”), Nikkhil Advani (“P.O.W.: Bandi Yuddh Ke”), Ram Madhvani (“Neerja”), Venkat Prabhu (“Biriyani”), Sudhir Mishra (“Daas Dev”), Tigmanshu Dhulia (“Paan Singh Tomar”), Nagesh Kukunoor (“Dhanak”), Mahesh Manjrekar (“Natsamrat”), Vishal Furia(“Lapachhapi”), Rohan Sippy (“SideHero”), Debbie Rao (“Pushpavalli”), Sharad Devarajan (“Chakra The Invincible”) and Salman Khan (“Race 3”).

The expansion into original content comes as the race heats up for online viewers in the world’s second-most-populous country. Driven by cheap data charges, streaming is becoming an important platform in India, with aggressive competition between Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon, Eros Now, Sony Liv and Viacom 18’s Voot. Hotstar is the market leader, with about 150 million active monthly users.

Its move into original content will focus “on big-scale, high-quality drama,” Gaurav Banerjee, President and Head of Hindi General Entertainment Channels for Star India, told Variety. The Hotstar Specials will be a minimum of six episodes each, with longer lengths being determined by the filmmakers, Banerjee said. While the names of the individual shows or their budgets were not revealed, the first of them will begin streaming by the end of March.

“One of the opportunities in digital is that we can keep on changing the format,” Banerjee said. “In television, one of our constraints is [that] the experience is around an appointment viewing, so the show has to start at 9:00 p.m.; it has to be around 30 minutes or one hour in duration. All of that we are seeking to change with what we try and do with all of these shows.”

The commissioning of Hotstar Specials marks a major shift from the regime of former CEO Ajit Mohan, when the company was more circumspect about original programming created exclusively for the streaming platform as opposed to shows created for its sister television channels in the Star Television Network. Past Hotstar originals include news satire “On Air With AIB” and filmed play series “CinePlay.” Hotstar also draws on a library of films together totaling 100,000 hours across 18 languages, and enjoys a near-stranglehold on the rights for cricket, India’s most popular sport.

Hotstar’s owner, Star India, is operated by 21st Century Fox, whose entertainment assets are in the process of being absorbed by Disney. What will happen to Hotstar when Disney launches its own global direct-to-consumer channel, Disney+, is unclear.

More Digital

  • Pandora voice mode

    Pandora Launches Voice Mode for Everyone

    After first launching a limited beta earlier this year, Pandora opened up its mobile voice control to all of its iOS and Android users Tuesday. The new feature allows users to ask for songs, albums, playlists, stations, and even soundtracks for activities or times of day, with simple voice commands. Pandora’s voice mode is similar [...]

  • The Netflix logo is displayed at

    Netflix Target of Shareholder Lawsuits After Q2 Subscriber Shortfall

    Like clockwork, Netflix’s big miss on subscriber targets for the second quarter of 2019 have prompted lawsuits filed on behalf of shareholders. At least two suits seeking class-action standing were filed Monday, by the Rosen Law Firm and Schall Law Firm, which both specialize in investor litigation. The lawsuits allege Netflix violated SEC regulations by [...]

  • AMC’s Streamer Acorn TV Hires Kerensa

    AMC-Owned Streamer Acorn TV Hires Former Filmstruck Exec as International Boss

    Former Filmstruck International general manager Kerensa Samanidis has been appointed Acorn TV’s first international chief. As general manager, international, she will spearhead the growth of the AMC Networks-owned streamer outside of North America and Latin America. Last year, Acorn TV expanded into Australia, and New Zealand, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, and Scandinavia. In the newly-created international [...]

  • apple AR patent application

    Apple Patents Gesture, Expression Tracking for Mixed Reality Headset

    Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset could include a number of sensors to track the eyes, gestures and even facial expressions of its users. The company applied for a patent to track these kinds of inputs, and combine them with information gathered from outward-facing sensors for mixed reality experiences. The patent application in question, simply titled [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor Comic Con

    Comic-Con: Marvel 'Shock and Awe' Strategy Dominates Twitter Buzz

    Disney’s Marvel Studios handily won the hype trophy from this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego. Marvel Studios — which returned to the 2019 Comic-Con stage with a chock-full Phase 4 slate of announcements — dominated the discussion on Twitter out of the convention, capturing the biggest volume of buzz for nine of the top 10 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content