What Wikipedia Can’t Tell you about hotstar.com


A success story the world will remember for a long time. In the highly competitive internet market, hotstar.com marked a huge success in its first year. An example of perfect marketing strategy by satisfying the needs of the end user.


So let’s begin

Why was hotstar born

  • Star Network had a YouTube channel for each and every TV channel they broadcasted but they couldn’t meet the demands of netizens which demanded different playlists for the viewers. As one size doesn’t fit and Star Network has over 50000 hours of content in 7 languages with digital rights in sports like Cricket, Football, Tennis and Kabbadi which demanded a unified platform for all these content and hotstar.com was born.


They have invested over 15 months to develop the hotstar.com portal. Here are the major reasons why

  • On hotstar.com they created different playlists for each and every time of a show and gave the users the opportunity to create their own playlists of their favorite videos in their hotstar accounts.
  • They had learnt how to curate the content well from their previous ventures like indya.com, star player, etc.… so they knew what their digital viewers needed and created a platform for all which demands a lot of time and effort to make it.


  • They did not want to disappoint its viewers by giving a half cooked portal which is difficult to navigate. As Indian serials have a large number of episodes, if a theme oriented approach is applied for segregating TV serial episodes it would provide simplicity to all.


Ø It was well positioned to meet the demands of different family members staying under one roof

  • In India the maximum number of homes (>90%) has only one television set because it’s believed in India that a family remains united by watching the same shows together. Nothing is wrong in that. In the 1980s Mahabharata and Ramayana were telecasted on DD which was watched by all. But today as the variety of shows has increased each family member wants to watch a show of his choice.
  • This was seen as a potential by Star Network, which wanted hotstar.com to become the second screen for a family. Their tagline “go solo” define their strategy. This was driven in a very constructive manner. They released the web portal hotstar.com for people living in major cities having access to laptops and high speed internet. IOS app of hotstar was to get the daily travelling public (i.e. Trains, buses, etc.… as it takes a lot of time these days due to traffic, a home far from the office and other factors).
  • Android app was launched to target both large cities and towns in India where mobile phone is their hub to access the internet. As we know Nokia phones are still the best bet for most Indians they launched hotstar app for Nokia Asha phones which target most of the general public in remote rural reach.
  • As the broadband penetrations are really low and most of the Indian public uses 2G internet which has a low speed their platform offered features like download of video (due to inconsistent network) and video optimization (which optimizes the video quality to 64kbps for low speed internet and HD video for high speed internet).



The results were splendid

  • The app was downloaded 10 million times in a span of 40 days. It became the number 1 app in the Playstore within days of the launch.
  • It was downloaded over 1 million times in 6 days surpassing other social networking apps such as Facebook which took 10 months, twitter 24 months and Instagram 2.5 months to cross the 1 million mark. It also engages around 30 minutes per user on the app daily which is a good feat over other trending apps.
  • The India Australia match had 50 million views for the semi final clash and the India Pakistan match witnessed 25 million views.


  • It made its way into the top 10 most searched term on the internet in the year 2015.
  • As it had over 25% market share (TV market) which was used as a means to promote their platform for all their content, the Indian public responded well to it.
  • It became one of the few digital platforms to be adopted very quickly at 12 million downloads a month.
  • Due to a user friendly web portal and the app, it received over 340 million views from 87 million unique users, most of which came from their mobile app.
  • Due to a good video player the Star network witnessed a 13.5 times growth in digital viewership. In IPL 2014 13 million views were received, but in IPL 2015 110 million views (This viewership is cumulative viewership in the mid of the IPL Season)
  • It ranked on the top for highest consumption of sports among over the top (OTT) players leaving behind Sony Liv and ditto tv run by Sony Pictures Network and Zee Entertainment (ZEEL) respectively.
  • For the first time the network has launched some exclusive digital cricket talk show like Juicy Half Volley (a weekly show); 20-minute 20-second Twenty20 for IPL and One tip One Hand for ICC World Cup 2015.



Ø Some of the Digital exclusives/Digital first shows and digital rights for sports hotstar has broadcasted/will continue to broadcast.

  • Badtameez Dil: This show’s first episode (29th June 2015) was telecasted on Star Plus but it was asked to close by the channel. As the viewers demanded not to close it from 28th September 2015 it was made a pure web series to cater the demands of the viewers. It completed its run on 18th November 2015 bringing a change in programming, i.e. a good show gets over with an excellent finish.
  • AIB: All India Bakchod was signed by the Star network at a huge sum for 20 episodes (10 in English and 10 in Hindi), which would first be released on hotstar in the midweek and on Sunday on Star plus at 10 pm.



  • Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon? : After its first season being a hit, the network decided to put its second season in an eight episode format on 24th November 2015.
  • Indian Premier League: They have digital rights for IPL 2015, IPL 2016 and IPL 2017 but they were streaming the IPL 2014 on starsports.com in partnership with Times Internet Limited. There was a difference in viewership in IPL 2014 and IPL 2015. In IPL 2014 they received 13 million views, but in IPL 2015 they received 110 million views which are a growth of 8.5 times compared to the previous year (This viewership is cumulative viewership in the mid of the IPL Season). All credits to hotstar platform.
  • ICC events: They have received digital rights for broadcast in India for years 2016 to 2019 which constitutes of eight ICC events including the ICC WC 2019 (2015 ICC WC turned to be a hot property for hotstar).
  • ICC World Cup 2015: They broadcasted ICC world cup matches on hot star, which turned to be a great deal as they got 340 million views for the entire tournament with 87 million unique users. It increased the brand image of hotstar in the Indian digital entertainment space.
  • Cricket talks: They launched talk shows like Juicy Half Volley (A weekly World cup round-up show); 20-minute 20-second Twenty20 for IPL and One tip One Hand for ICC World Cup 2015. I personally liked the Juicy Half Volley episode, which featured Murali Karthik.
  • Some movies like Bombay Velvet, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Talvar were among the new movies to be put on hotstar.


I really don’t know how many people reading this post remember about indya.com which was bought from Microland founded by Pradeep Kar in the year 2001. It was a portal which was designated to serve Star Network’s daily soaps and sports properties. The portal was created in April 2000 by Microland. Sunil Lulla was appointed the CEO of the portal.

Some major steps taken and achievements by the

Ø Website launched multimedia content and interactive apps for their popular shows like KBC, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, etc.… in 2001. It also integrated other sister channels of the network (Channel V, Star World) with their multimedia content on the portal.

Ø It also started offering downloadable content for programs such as Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, etc.… There were special packages created starting from $0.99 for downloading episodes of their favorite shows.

Ø It also offered 45 minute recap of the top rated shows telecasted in the week on the Star Network.

Ø They had received exclusive digital rights for Champions Trophy 2006 and ICC World Cup 2007 which turned to be a huge success for the indya.com portal.

Ø Let me discuss about the Champions Trophy held in 2006

  • It was held in India from 7th October 2006 to 5th November 2006 which was won by Australia.
  • It was played for a total of 21 matches held in Ahmedabad (Manchester of India); Mohali (Commercial hub of Punjab); Jaipur (Pink City) and Mumbai (Commercial Capital of India)
  • iccchampionstrophy.com was developed and maintained by indya.com.
  • They launched shows like Matchcast (an application which gives live scores with ball to ball updates); Voice of the World Cup (participants had to provide their voice as commentary to the cricket video for which they can win a trip to West Indies to watch a World Cup Match); Interviews of various celebrities (captains, top players, experts); A collection of all historical data of playing teams (Statistics of players; matches played by the team, etc.…)
  • This turned to be a massive success for the portal as it received over 1.1 billion hits and more than 200 million page views on their designed portal.
  • The best thing was that in spite of some premium content on the site the response from especially India and other cricket loving nations like UK, Pakistan was good.
  • Lufthansa and monster.com partnered for advertising their brand on the portal which turned out to be a good decision.

Ø Now let’s speak about ICC World Cup 2007

  • It was held in West Indies from 13th March 2007 to 28th April 2007 won by Australia.
  • A dedicated portal was created cricketworldcup.com, which had almost the same features as the portal iccchamipionstrophy.com. Additionally video contents like highlights of ongoing and previous World Cup; dedicated pages for purchase of merchandise of their favorite teams and some polls accompanied with quizzes.
  • NDTV Media partnered to sell ads on their portal.


These were some of the major points on the portal indya.com


Now I have created a timeline of hotstar.com i.e. from its beta version launch in January 2015 to February 2016 (It celebrates its birthday on 1st week of February) {Most Important Points}


Month Activities
Before January 2015 15 months of hard work on hotstar.com.
January 2015 Launched beta version of hotstar.com
17th January 2015 Premier of Star Guild Award before its telecast on Star Plus slated on 18th January 2015
1st week of February 2015 Launch of hotstar.com’s complete version with over 35000 hours of content in seven languages
In the second half of February 2015 Streaming of 87th Oscar Awards was done on hotstar.com which received record breaking views in spite of large Indian viewers watching Hindi and other regional language shown more than English.
14th February 2015 to 29th March 2015 ICC World Cup’s exclusive digital footage was telecasted on hotstar.com which recorded over 300 million views; around 13 billion hits. The best part was that it was viewed by 87 million unique users (mostly from their mobile app). The India-Pakistan match recorded 25 million views and the India-Australia match recorded 50 million views.
In the first half of April 2015 hotstar.com ties up with Accenture Video Solutions to provide their large content to all bandwidth users (2G, 3G, 4G, WiFi) and to over 5000 devices (feature and smart phones) in spite of them using the lowest bandwidth (As feature phones have access to 2G internet only)
8th April 2015 to 24th May 2015 hotstar.com received 110 million views in the mid of the IPL 2015 which was a phenomenal growth over its IPL 2014’s 13 million views at the same point of the tournament
10th May 2015 Launched exclusive preview of “Bombay Velvet” on hotstar.com
18th July 2015 to 23rd August 2015 Pro Kabbadi League was put on hotstar.com which was received well by the viewers
6th August 2015 “Main Hoon Hero Tera” song was exclusively launched on hotstar.com
28th September 2015 “Phir Bhi Na Mane Badtameez Dil” was moved from Star Plus to a only digital show on hotstar.com
29th October  2015 “On Air with AIB” gets launched first on hotstar before its TV telecast on Star Plus on the following Sunday
24th November 2015 Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon? Was launched only on hotstar.com as an 8 episode series


After this complete detailed journey of hotstar.com in its first year we can now say why hotstar.com was such a success.

Some notable points are

Ø Experience of running platforms such as indya.com, star player, starsports.com. Star Player and starsports.com had mobile apps which made Star Network to understand the demands of the consumers

Ø Perfect Launch timing: – Just before the ICC World Cup 2015 which proved to be an organic advertising for themselves. How? Their apps started trending in the top 5 apps on Google Playstore and Apple App Store.

Ø Proper use of their large reach of various languages on their network to promote hotstar.com

Ø Purely Free Content made it more attractive to viewers to watch their content.

Ø Last but not the least their tagline “go solo” proved too striking to the minds of the youngsters who don’t get to watch their favorite shows on TV can do so on hotstar.com



I loved writing this post which has made me research a lot on hotstar.com. A near perfect business strategy. I will try to write in detail about all their exclusive digital shows in my next post.


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