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Hotstar is an important platform for us: ABP's Avinash Pandey

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MUMBAI: The days of tuning into the news channel at 7 pm in your living room are gone. Today’s consumers want news to come to them not vice versa. Taking note of this, ABP News bought a Hotstar ticket, which boasts of 10 million downloads on Android devices.

ABP is the first Hindi news channel on the platform. New entrant Republic TV had secured a place in May this year.

ABP COO Avinash Pandey feels it unwise to consider Hotstar as a media product. He rather gives it the title of a platform in itself. “The exponential growth in business happens when you move from product delivery to platform delivery. A platform becomes a dissemination medium when multiple people for multiple reasons converge. Hotstar is a promising and future-ready platform and it is important to be on such a destination,” he says.

ABP shares its DNA with Star India since the channel was formerly called Star News – a partnership between ABP and Star from 2003 till Star decided to give up news for giving attention to entertainment in 2012. The synergy made a compelling case for both to unite.

The deal benefits both parties. While ABP can reach a large audience on a trusted platform, Star can give value addition to its Hindi-speaking audience via ABP News. Let us not forget the increased traction that advertisers will get through it.

At the 13th Indian Digital Operators Summit 2017, BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta highlighted that the Hindi news genre grew by 93 per cent in week 41 of 207 over 2015. Pandey calls this growth as exponential, not progressive.

“People want news as video rather than text and heavy consumption happens via mobiles and tablet due to lower data charges,” says Pandey. The channel is cooking up something as he says that this partnership is just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ and more should be expected.

With the latest addition, Hotstar has live feeds of five channels - Fox News, Sky News, Asianet News, Republic TV and ABP news.

As per the comScore report for April 2017, ABP News had 20.7 million viewers on mobile out of the total 200 million news population on digital. It had just 1.7 million views via desktop devices. The report also showed that people across ages, both male and female prefer mobile to desktop any day.

Star India chairman and CEO Uday Shankar had earlier said, “Young India has embraced Hotstar. We believe that young, digital-savvy Indians are deeply interested in understanding their country and the world they live in.”

Hotstar has managed to hook viewers to its entertaining content. Now can it manage to get them to spend more time watching news as well?

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