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Will leverage past successful shows and characters: ALTBalaji's Nachiket Pantvaidya

ALTBalaji’s current ARPU is Rs 140 per year or about Rs 12 per month

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MUMBAI: Ekta Kapoor-led Balaji Telefilm’s digital arm ALTBalaji wants to distinguish its service with Hindi originals targeting the mass audience with a vision to create binge viewing habit among users. Moreover, while the platform has already delivered several hit shows since launch, the OTT platform is going to leverage past hits by launching more in the future.

“You will see that we are going to make our past hits to a greater degree going ahead. Therefore in the second half of the year you will see the second season of Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain, the third season of Karle Tu Bhi Mohabbat coming through and what essentially we are signaling is that now we have got out of the 24 shows a bunch of hits which we were going to leverage going ahead which means that we can scale up the number of episodes and we need to do lesser creative work on creating characters. So the same characters will now be in progressive storylines so that is really what we are doing in the second half of the year. We are looking at the hits that have happened in the first half,” ALTBalaji CEO Nachiket Pantvaidya commented in an earnings call.

As the platform has emphasised for a long time, it wants to create binge-watching habit among consumers by offering exclusive shows of different lengths. While many platforms are dabbling in several languages, ALTBalaji is initially focusing on Hindi content. However, going forward it will definitely not limit the possible offering to one language or one type of content.

In terms of target audience, the company’s strategy has always been to look at both female and male, younger and older age group and premium and mass audience. Hence, content creation initiatives revolve around targeting all the profiles. Through data streams, the company gains the insights on what is working or not. As the management said in the earnings call, at any given time period it is producing 40 shows on the floor. Currently, they have production up till next year September-October going on the floors.

While the OTT platform is seeing growth in revenue quarter over quarter, it is coming through both B2C, B2B2C routes. 70 per cent of the revenues are coming from partner and 30 per cent from direct subscribers. The release of shows in a more regular and systematic manner has worked as a turning point for the uptake. The company has also credited the overall environment of OTT growth as another reason. “People are buying more and more into telecom internet packages and that has also fuelled the acceleration in growth because we make original Indian content and we are able to reach urban mass target audiences and that has also in a way helped us accelerate our growth,” management commented.

Standing with 2.3 million active subscribers, ALTBalaji’s current ARPU is Rs 140 per year or about Rs 12 per month. We exited last quarter at around 5 million subscriber base. “We are exiting this quarter at around 8.5-8.7 million subscriber base,” Pantvaidya commented. According to the App Annie data, which correlates the subscription that is made on the app store both at Apple as well as Google, it is consistently in the top 5. As its subscription rate and ARPU are probably in the lowest in those top 5 ranked players, the company estimates that they are in either number one or number two position in terms of consistently paid subscribers month after month. On the back of the ever-expanding internet user base in India and the growth in the library, the company expects further revenue growth in coming quarters.

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