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Alt Digital Media Entertainment Limited, a subsidiary of Balaji Telefilms, is gearing up to launch a Netflix-like over-the-top (OTT) content service in India as early as June 2016. The big differentiator for the platform will be that it will only have content produced exclusively for the platform, which would be about 35 titles in the first year. Balaji has already promised around Rs 150 crore in the venture so far.
COO Sunil Nair says the idea is to cater to the top-end consumers who do not mind paying for differentiated content. “We are not looking at the bottom of the pyramid. The initial focus is on English, Hindi and titles that have a mix of both. But we will add more languages as we progress,” he told IndianExpress.com. The plan is to cater to all types of user behaviour from snacking to binge watching and be device as well as network neutral. “We are built for scale.”
There is considerable focus being put on the tech backbone of the service too. “We have implemented adaptive bit rates and the service will work fine on 512kbps connections too,” says Nair, giving us a sneak peek into the Alt app. The app uses a mix of Google’s material design and Apple’s human interface to give users an easy to navigate playlist.
The success of the platform will to a large extent depend on the content they are able to churn out. “We will not be pushing Balaji’s soaps or movies here. Everything will be made for this platform and keeping the specific user base in mind,” he says, adding that the content team will have some big names from the industry. The plan is to offer something new every fortnight. Also, Alt seems open to the idea of bringing in content that is otherwise not available to the Indian audience.
Nair is confident that Indians will not have an issue paying for differentiated content. “Netflix has validated that,” he says, adding that they will also look at product placements and ads as an additional revenue stream.