Disney-owned streaming platform Hotstar, the dominant VOD service in the Indian market, has now crossed 400 million app downloads in the country after a bumper 2019.
Audience consumption on the platform was three-times higher in 2019 than the previous year, according to a report published by the company, and downloads of the app were twice as high than in 2018. It clocked 555 installs per minute over the last 12 months.
One of Hotstar’s big drivers this year was the latest edition of the Indian cricket league IPL, with the service saying its coverage reached more than 300 million people. The platform also hosted coverage of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, held in the UK, clocking 25.3 million concurrent viewers per minute for the India vs New Zealand semi-final.
Regional programming also saw a boost this year, accounting for 40% of overall content consumption on the service, with Tamil, Telugu and Bengali comprising the top regional languages. Tamil-language Bigg Boss Tamil was the most-watched entertainment program, surpassing all Hindi-language shows.
The platform also hosts Game Of Thrones, with Hotstar having an exclusive deal in India for HBO originals, and the report noted that 40% of viewers who tuned in for the HBO series also consumed Hindi-language content.
Further trends include the growth of viewership in non-metro cities. In 2019, video consumption in Lucknow, Pune and Patna surpassed Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kolkata.
In total, 45% of consumption came from women, it said.
Hotstar was launched in 2015. It is owned by Novi Digital Entertainment, a subsidiary of Star India, which in turn is owned by Disney after its buy-out of Fox’s entertainment assets earlier this year.
In India, the platform is operated as both a free ad-supported service as well as two subscription-based tiers. The service has also launched in North America and the UK and earlier this year Disney chief Bob Iger said it was looking to expand the platform into Southeast Asia.
Hotstar offers 100,000 hours of TV shows and movies in eight languages, as well as regional and national news, and national and international sports coverage.
Varun Narang, EVP & Chief Product Officer, Hotstar, commented, “The accelerated growth of the Indian video entertainment ecosystem has had an unprecedented impact on the consumer. Today, the Indian consumer enjoys a plethora of content to choose from, has moved beyond metro cities, and isn’t limited by gender or language. More importantly, this growing accessibility has opened doors to new thoughts and ideas that are shaping a stereotype-defying consumer.”