‘We are excited that Netflix has come’

Sunanda Jayaseelan | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on February 05, 2016


Balaji Tele will also go for a subscription model for new digital arm: Sameer Nair

Balaji Telefilms plans to raise ₹150 crore for its arm ALT Digital Media. In an interview to Bloomberg TV India, Balaji Telefilms Group CEO Sameer Nair said ALT Balaji will create new content altogether.

How are you going to raise ₹150 crore and what are you going to use it for?

We have got a very robust TV and movie business. We are going to launch a digital platform by the end of Q1 of the next fiscal. So we are raising funds for that. It is called ALT Digital Media. The platform is called ALT Balaji and here the ALT stands for “alternative”.

You just had Netflix announcing its India foray. How is it going to change the market for you?

Recently, Apple TV was launched and they said think of a giant iPhone in your living room — that is pretty much what the future looks like. And all the digital platforms that are coming up will be a new way of consuming content. This way you go away from linear television and so you are not sort of anchored to a TV, you are not anchored to a time schedule and you are not anchored to watching it as an appointment. That is going to be a big change I guess in the next 5-10 years we will see.

Netflix works on a subscription model. So is that something you are going to look at?

We are going to do exactly that. We are working on a subscription model. We want to be an over-the-top service (OTTS) provider and we are going to create original premium content for this platform. So the content which is being created for the platform is not available anywhere else. It will be on a monthly subscription basis — there will be no advertising, no ad breaks or ‘skip ad’ feature either. That is the plan. And we are excited that Netflix has come because Netflix has a global approach.

But you already give content to Netflix as well...

Our movies are already syndicated with Netflix. Netflix has a global approach and it takes content from everyone. But with ALT Balaji, we are going to create new content.

Would you look at some kind of synergy with Netflix?

In the first phase, we are looking to launch and create our own content. And then we will distribute it as widely as possible by working with all the platforms, which includes all the big telecom companies - with Reliance Jio and all of them. And then I guess synergies will happen later.

When you are talking about your content is largely going to be for urban consumers?

The thing is that when you split up the numbers in India, you have got like a 100 million Indians who have access to smartphones, who come from reasonably well-to-do homes and have internet connectivity. And then it sort of grows from there. I think in the first instance anywhere, a market grows from the big urban centre and then trickles down. But I think it is more than just geography, it’s a psychographic — as in having an urban mindset, of being that forward-looking progressive Indian, whether you are here or abroad.

Published on February 05, 2016
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