World streaming platform Starz on Wednesday launched its impartial direct-to-consumer OTT app ‘Lionsgate Play’ in India, which can compete head-on with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+Hotstar. Lionsgate Play, a premium streaming service from Lionsgate India and Starz, goals to make premium Hollywood content material obtainable in a number of Indian languages and have wide-ranging content material, together with movies and TV collection.
It’ll additionally usher in originals for the audiences because it seems to woo viewers in India, the place on-line video consumption has seen an enormous progress previously few years. The pandemic-induced lockdown had additional accelerated the consumption of OOT providers like on-line video and music streaming within the nation. Chatting with reporters, Starz President and CEO Jeffrey A Hirsch mentioned the corporate sees India as a key area for progress.
“We anticipate continued robust progress as we enter the Indian OTT ecosystem and intend to drive this trajectory in direction of reaching our objective by 2025 of 15-25 million over-the-top (OTT) worldwide subscribers by specializing in three core drivers — content material, know-how, and native market optimisation,” he mentioned. Outlining the chance, he mentioned mature markets, like India, usually have 7-10 premium OTT platforms however presently, there are solely 2-Three such platforms.
“So, there may be loads of alternative for us to develop. The customers (right here) love Western Hollywood content material, and we predict that coupled with our value level, makes India super marketplace for our progress. “We strongly consider that India is the world’s defining market over the following 10 years,” he added.
Requested about content material regulation on the platform, Lionsgate South Asia Managing Director Rohit Jain mentioned the nation has had a “implausible historical past of three many years of being self regulated”. He added that the platform has put in place many levers, together with disclaimers and knowledge round what content material is appropriate for which audiences and age teams, and parental controls.
“We proceed to be delicate about points that may very well be delicate to non secular ranges or any of these issues, however I feel generally, form of sustaining the liberty of content material and form of freedom to inform the tales in the best way they should be informed. I am positive all our platforms will proceed to be accountable,” he mentioned. Jain emphasised that the self-regulation mannequin has been working for tv for 3 many years, and there’s no purpose for it to not work seamlessly on digital as nicely.
Hirsch famous that Starz is concentrated on grownup audiences, providing them premium and non-ad supported content material. “We do not have youngsters, we do not have information, we do not have sports activities, we do not have promoting. It is (the platform) targeted on grownup (audiences) content material that persons are keen to pay for, and we’ll proceed to lean into that technique in an enormous manner,” he added.
In September, the Web and Cellular Affiliation of India (IAMAI) mentioned 15 main on-line curated content material suppliers (OCCPs) in India, together with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Hotstar, have adopted a self-regulation code. Below the code, the gamers would arrange structured grievance redressal and escalation mechanism for customers. Final month, the federal government introduced movies, audio-visuals, information and present affairs content material on on-line platforms underneath the area of the Ministry of Data and Broadcasting, giving the ministry the facility to control insurance policies for these segments.
Starz was first launched internationally with its Starzplay worldwide premium streaming platform in 2018. This month, it’s increasing its world footprint into 55 international locations all through Europe, Latin America, Canada, Japan and India. Lionsgate Play has partnered with operators like Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel, Jio FTTH, Apple TV+, and Amazon Firestick for distribution. The app will provide two subscription plans — Rs 699 for a yr and Rs 99 per 30 days.
The providing has been competitively priced towards Netflix (that provides month-to-month subscription plans at Rs 199-799), Amazon Prime Movies, Hotstar, ZEE5 and others (subscription charges vary between Rs 99-299 a month and Rs 999 yearly). Through the digital press convention, Jain mentioned the staff hopes to supply audiences with thrilling content material, together with India Originals, which shall be unveiled subsequent yr.
“We’re doing loads of originals in India however we’re coping with this with a watch for the world. “We’re choosing nice tales, we’re placing world solid that we will placed on in Europe, the US, Latam and whereas they (originals) are domestically produced and originated, these tales have a world enchantment,” he mentioned.
The slate will embrace collaborations with filmmakers Mukesh Bhatt, Kunal Kohli and actor Anil Kapoor, amongst others. “We have now a nicely rounded slate. It is not an overdose of crime and darkish content material… We have now fascinating edgy dramas, slice of life tales, comedies. We have now collaborated with a number of the completed makers, like Kunal Kohli, Akarsh Khurana, Mukesh Bhatt, Anil Kapoor,” Jain mentioned.
He added that the agency will proceed its Lionsgate Play journey by including to deep roster of premium content material by means of partnerships with stars like Kriti Sanon, Tiger Shroff and Sanjana Sanghi. A few of the new content material obtainable presently consists of Anna Kendrick starrer “Love Life” , Syrian civil warfare collection “No Man’s Land” and the comedy collection “The Goes Wrong Show” .
The streaming platform will even premiere motion pictures corresponding to Jennifer Lopez starrer “Hustlers” , Gerald Butler’s motion thriller “Angel Has Fallen” , fantasy thriller “Hellboy’ and the motion comedy “The Gentlemen” amongst others..