ALT Balaji Says Its Subscriber Base Is Rising 70-80% Daily During Lockdown
ALT Balaji, the content streaming service of Balalji Telefilms Ltd., is benefiting from a surge in online streaming as people stay indoors to avoid infection by the novel coronavirus.
“Our user base is going up by 70-80 percent every day. We are adding 17,000-20,000 subscribers per day,” Nachiket Pantvaidya, group chief operating officer of Balaji Telefilms and chief executive officer at ALT Digital Media Entertainment, told BloombergQuint in an interview. “With work from home being the new mantra, Tier II and III cities are consuming our platform, especially because our content is local and subscription price is very affordable at Rs 300 per year.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed the world’s strictest lockdown, which stalled all but essential goods and services, in an attempt to curb the spreading of the Covid-19 pandemic among 1.3 billion Indians.
That led to a surge in online streaming in a market that has the world’s highest data consumption per smartphone. The time spent on smartphones, according to a report by Broadcast Audience Research Council and Nielsen AG, has increased by almost three hours per week during the lockdown.
Big-spending streaming apps such as Netflix Inc., Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+ Hotstar and Amazon Prime are also getting more viewers. ALT Balaji even collaborated with Zee Group’s over-the-top streaming platform Zee5 to co-create original content.
“This run will continue only till Diwali as after that we don’t have fresh content to give out. June seems to be the power point. Somewhere around June if we can find ways to start production again, I expect it to be a good run. But if it doesn’t happen, then we will have to re-work our math,” Pantvaidya said.
“We are still in a very good position till the financial year ending March 31 as we have 10-12 shows that are already produced and just need to be edited, and (that) can be done from home. We also need to be careful about the streaming cost per subscriber, but if they are watching more we have to stream more.”
ALT Balaji also expects to benefit from lower advertisement rates. “It’s better for us because customer acquisition cost goes down and we can advertise our shows cheaper,” Pantvaidya said.
WATCH | ALT Balaji CEO Nachiket Pantvaidya On Subscriber Base Gains During Lockdown