Airtel and Hotstar have partnered to offer part of the latter's catalogue on the former's mobile app, Airtel TV, the two companies announced Monday. The deal includes movies, TV shows, and live sports from 22 channels across Star India's network, in nine languages.
All the content will be available to Airtel subscribers for free, while it runs a promotional scheme for Airtel TV until June. The partnership doesn't include most of Hotstar's English-language content, including that from HBO, Disney India, and Showtime, in addition to its own English-language channels.
The focus seems to be more on local content, with channels, movies, and TV shows in Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu among others. Thanks to the partnership with Star India, Airtel claims the Airtel TV app now offers access to over 350 live channels (35 in HD), and 10,000 movies and TV shows.
“We are delighted to have Hotstar onboard as a long term partner in our endeavour to build a world-class digital content ecosystem," Sameer Batra, CEO Wynk, Airtel's entertainment subsidiary, said in a statement. "Their rich content library will add immense value to our content play and add to the user experience."
"Airtel has among the widest consumer footprints in India and with our expansive content library, comprising rich programming that can cater across age groups, geographies and interests, there are natural synergies and we are very excited about this partnership," Ajit Mohan, CEO Hotstar, added.
Airtel has been ramping up its efforts with Airtel TV in recent months, in light of stiff competition from Reliance Jio's JioTV, launching a revamped version late last year, and then offering a year-long Amazon Prime subscription for free as an added incentive in January. The Hotstar deal adds to the existing partnerships with Eros Now, Hooq, and Sony Liv.