Feature

The ‘Alt’ernate Strategy

How ALTBalaji, the digital offering from Balaji Telefilms, is making its presence felt in a highly competitive streaming industry

No one can deny Ekta Kapoor’s sharp acumen when it comes to spotting or creating content consumption trends in India. She is the brain behind India’s longest running soap operas, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kasautii Zindagii Kay and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki. Sure, there was criticism of the content, but the popularity of the saas-bahu saga still provides fodder for discussion almost twenty years later. She was also among the first to rekindle the supernatural genre on Indian television with Naagin. Many followed suit, but few could match her success. 

Nachiket Pantvaidya, CEO, ALTBalajiWith the same gumption, Kapoor decided to venture into the digital space. Only, this time, she wanted to own the content and the platform — which led to the creation of ALTBalaji. “With ALT, I wanted to create content for the urban mass audience of India and reach out to a large section that had migrated out of television and still craved emotion and entertainment from its content,” says Kapoor, joint managing director, Balaji Telefilms. ALTBalaji is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Balaji Telefilms and was launched in April 2017.

One year since its launch, Kapoor’s bet has proved right again. ALTBalaji has established its might in the highly competitive over-the-top (OTT) streaming industry in India. The app has seen 15 million downloads. The platform has about 150 hours of content and would be adding 100 hours of original programming in the next year. In Q4FY18, revenue of ALTBalaji stood at Rs.37 million vs Rs.11 million in the previous quarter. For FY18 it contributed Rs.68 million to Balaji’s total revenue of Rs.4.16 billion. The FY18 annual report states that ALTBalaji clocked 800 million minutes of video consumption so far with an average watch time of 120 minutes per user. During the Q4FY18 concall, the management stated that ALTBalaji is targeting an FY19 revenue of Rs.900 million.

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