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OTT platforms introduce ‘free window’ for audience during lockdown

Numerous OTT platforms, which already have a plethora of content, have decided to push the envelope and offer some freebies to its audience.

Written by Sana Farzeen | Mumbai |
April 1, 2020 10:34:50 am
new shows netflix amazon hotstar Most GECs have decided to re-run either its past serials or have a web series go on air as they have exhausted the episode bank.

With the nation in lockdown, people are hooked on to their television and mobile screens. As decided by the entertainment industry bodies, shoots of films, TV and web series have been put on hold. Most GECs have decided to re-run either its past serials or have a web series go on air as they have exhausted the episode bank. Numerous OTT platforms, which already have a plethora of content, have also decided to push the envelope, and offer some freebies for its audience.

Amazon Prime Video recently announced that it has made a selection of kids and family content available for free. This would include the Amazon Original kids and family shows and select third party family movies and TV series. Some of the titles included in the free pack are Mystery City, Lost Oz, The Stinky Dirty Show, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Peppa Pig, Mr Bean and The Adventures of Tenali Rama among more.

While AVOD (advertisement video-on-demand) customers could already consume the first episodes of most ZEE5 originals for free, the platform has now decided to offer some titles free of cost during the lockdown. Premium shows Ishq Aaj Kal, Karle Tu Bhi Mohabbat, Baarish and Kehne Ko Humsafar Hai along with international shows like Witch At Court, Relationship Status – It’s complicated, Bread Love and Dreams and Queen of Mystery (2 seasons) will now be available for free. The platform has also announced that its original shows – Babbar Ka Tabbar, Bhootpurva, Lockdown and films like Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, Suriya S3, Paltan, Batti Gul Meter Chalu, Great Grand Masti and Yamla Pagla Deewana Phirse will be available without any subscription charge.

Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat 3 Karle Tu Bhi Mohabbat stars Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar in lead roles.

A source in Hotstar shared that most of its content from Star Plus and Star Bharat are available for consumers for free after its telecast on TV. Select picks like Koffee with Karan, MasterChef India, Mangal Gyaan, I Don’t Watch TV are also available without any subscription fees. While movies on the platform are usually part of VIP or Premium packs, for now films like Housefull 4, Chhichhore, Mission Mangal, Baaghi 2, Super 30, Badhaai Ho, Pink and MS Dhoni are available for free. There’s also a bouquet of regional content available for the audience.

While other platforms have not announced any change in their subscription charges or an additional ‘free pack’, there’s a huge lineup of shows available for the consumer. Netflix in its April newsletter has announced the release of much-awaited Coffee & Kareem, Money Heist: The Phenomenon, The Big Show Show, Fauda: Season 3, The House of Flowers : Season 3, After Life: Season 2 and standup special Yours Sincerely, Kanan Gill.

Voot Select, which launched in March at a price of Rs 999 per year, has now introduced an exclusive offer of Rs 499 per year. In April, the platform will release Raikar Case (Kunal Karan Kapoor, Parul Gulati, Atul Kulkarni) and Illegal (Piyush Mishra, Kubbra Sait, Neha Sharma, Akshay Oberoi).

ALTBalaji, on the other hand, has already released adult-show XXX and Who’s Your Daddy is in the pipeline. While all its shows are behind a paywall, it does offer a few episodes for free.

Most telecom services are also offering double data to its consumers to keep them occupied. While the audience would definitely be spoilt for choice, the quality of viewing of these shows might be slightly affected. Recently the digital industry unanimously agreed to temporarily default HD and ultra-HD streaming to SD content or offer only SD content, at bitrates no higher than 480p on cellular networks. These voluntary measures were taken to control the unprecedented surge in mobile internet consumption with most people being at home.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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