Homegrown over-the-top (OTT) platform Altbalaji is aiming to double active subscribers to 4 million in 2021, and planning to forge a new tie-up on the distribution front, a senior official said on Friday. In comments that came in the wake of the new regulations for the OTT space, its senior vice president for revenue and marketing Divya Dixit said the platform will stay away from pornography and any type of content that offends religious sentiments.
The platform, which completed four years on Friday and competes with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, has notched over 2 million active subscribers as of December 2020.
“I am hoping to double the number of the active subscribers,” Dixit told , claiming that the platform’s retention rates at around 37 per cent are higher than the industry average of 25 per cent.
Initially, the platform tied up with telcos like Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Jio (also an investor in the company) for bundled offers to attract subscribers, but the same was not revenue accretive, she said.
Therefore, from September 2019, it had entered into an agreement with Zee that helped in sharing production costs and also garner higher revenues per user through a joint marketing effort, Dixit said, adding that none of the over two million active subscribers have come from the telco tie-ups.
The partnership with Zee will be on for some more time and the company is also looking at forging a similar tie-up soon, she said. In the future, it may also explore an opportunity to tie up with Jio. At present, it is adding 20-22,000 subscriptions a day.
The subscribers pay Rs 300(US$4.02) per year or Rs 100 per quarter to watch the original shows, which are rooted in the Indian milieu, she said, adding that its target audience comprises everyone across the country with the exclusion of kids.
She pointed out a story on same-sex love as being a runaway success for the platform, attributing the success to the fact that such content was not available on broadcast mediums, and stressed that it has picked up a topic that is legal in India.
When asked about the recent regulations, she said it will always respect whatever the government has to say, and added that right now, the government is very clear in its intent, which is to not kill the creativity of the OTT platforms.
The government is “very fair” in asking the OTT platforms to self-regulate and to classify the content, she said, adding the company has followed all the prescribed official norms.
“I think the creativity of the content has to be there, every creator should have the right to pick up a social issue as long as it is within the confines set down by the government of India,” she said, adding that it is good to have regulation.
Dixit said the company’s library has only one show among 80 which can be termed as “edgy”. When asked about what are the no go areas, she pointed out pornography and hurting people’s sentiments.
“As an art, we will always push the envelope, but we will push the envelope, keeping certain sensibilities in mind,” she noted.