Bharti Airtel and Star India's video-streaming platform Hotstar have entered a strategic partnership to bring digital content from the latter's portfolio to Airtel customers. This will expand Airtel TV app's range of offerings and expand the footprint of Hotstar's content.
Now, Airtel TV consumers will get access to more than 350 live TV channels and close to 10,000 popular movies and shows from India and abroad, according to the company. Hotstar's library has 100,000 hours of content, in nine languages, including sports, movies, and TV shows.
The move is clearly meant to counter Reliance Jio, which is offering JioCinema and JioTV apps for streaming content.
But according to The Mobile Indian, Airtel's claims are misleading at the moment, as the TV app is not yet showing movies from Hotstar, but only the live channels.
Also, the rollout of the content syndication partnership is not as smooth as one would expect. No update has been pushed by Airtel after the announcement of the partnership on Monday, which means if someone already has an Airtel TV app and wants to watch Hotstar content they cannot view it without uninstalling the current app and then reinstalling it. As a matter of fact, the syndication with Amazon Prime was much better.
And after one has reinstalled the Airtel TV app only live channels of Hotstar are visible instead of the complete bouquet which includes movies.
According to Airtel, all content on Airtel TV app is free for prepaid and postpaid customers on a promotional basis till June 2018. After that, some content will be available to Airtel customers free through the Airtel TV app. This will include shows from 22 channels and over 3,000 movies and shows.
Sameer Batra, chief executive of Airtel's entertainment arm Wynk, said, ''We are delighted to have Hotstar on board as a long-term partner. Airtel TV's new version has received an extremely positive response from users and we will continue to bring exciting content and in-app innovations to delight them.''
Ajit Mohan, chief executive of Hotstar, added, ''There are natural synergies and we are very excited about this partnership.''