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Hotstar breaks norm, introduces CinePlay

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MUMBAI: Hotstar, India’s leading streaming platform today announced that it is expanding its Premium Service and offering a new storytelling format, CinePlay, under its Originals banner. Hotstar Originals’ CinePlay will showcase classics and contemporary stories from the theatre world presented in a cinematic fashion. Each CinePlay will bring together the work of leading playwrights, internationally renowned directors and the best of the actors from both the theatre and cinema worlds.

Available exclusively in India for Hotstar’s premium subscribers, 20 CinePlay titles will release regularly on the platform, starting with 5 titles being released on 13 February.

The announcement comes close on the heels of the partnership with Disney that Hotstar announced last month. With that announcement, Hotstar Premium had put together a portfolio of American TV shows and movies from three of the best studios in the world: Disney, Fox and HBO.

The introduction of CinePlay to the Premium service represents another big jump for the platform, which has already established stellar leadership in the highly competitive and fast evolving space of on-demand content. According to third party measurement company App Annie, Hotstar was the largest premium streaming platform in the month of January in India with more than 60 million users. Its watch time for the month was more than 12 times that of Amazon Prime Video and more than 20 times that of Netflix.

CinePlays will bring some of the most renowned stories from theatre from leading playwrights like Dr. Vijay Tendulkar, Badal Sircar, Mohan Rakesh, and Mahesh Dattani amongst others. The productions have been helmed by renowned directors such as Santosh Sivan and Nagesh Kukunoor. They will feature some of the most compelling actors of the theatre and film world including Nandita Das, Saurabh Shukla, Lillete Dubey, Swanand Kirkire, Namit Das, Darshan Jariwalla, Rajpal Yadav, Sonali Kulkarni and others.

“We love breaking norms,” said Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan. "We have never believed in the artificial separation between television and digital audiences. Our aspiration for Hotstar Originals has always been to introduce new formats and stories that are not being explored by anyone, irrespective of the screen. CinePlay is a big leap forward for storytellers and their audiences in the country. We are excited to bring an entirely new way of storytelling to a generation that has not been exposed to either these stories or to the power of theatre.”

“CinePlay is presenting a new visual language that blends the grammar of theatre and the power of cinema. We are excited to be exclusive partners with Hotstar in bringing these rich and relatable stories to every screen. With this collaboration, we hope to capture the imagination of the digital generation through an immersive cinematic experience of the theatre,” said CinePlay chairman and co-founder Subodh Maskara.

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