Info-tech

Voot Select ropes in one million subscribers in a year

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on March 11, 2021

Aims to foray into non-Hindi or ‘regional’ language originals this year

Voot Select, Viacom18’s subscription video on demand (sVoD) streaming service, has enrolled around one million active direct paying subscribers in one year after its inception on the back of its content strategy, said a top company official. It will now foray into non-Hindi or ‘regional’ language originals this year, with at least 10 such originals slated for this year.

Active direct paying subscribers are those that directly register to subscribe to a platform; it does not include those who sign up via partnerships.

Voot Select will also roll out at least one Hindi original every month, taking the total number of Hindi originals planned for this year to around 12, compared to last yearwhen it had rolled out seven Hindi originals, Ferzad Palia, Head, Voot Select & International Business, Viacom18, told BusinessLine.

As for the non-Hindi language originals it is planning to make its advent into, three Tamil shows and two Bengali shows are already ready, and will be up on the platform soon, he said.

‘Originals’, as per the over-the-top (OTT) platform parlance, means content created by an OTT platform in-house, which would be exclusive to it.

Investments

On the investments for ramping up the originals, he said that it would be “well in line with the top 3-4 players in the market”. “We are leaving no stone unturned,” he added. Over the last two years, Netflix, for instance, has invested ₹3,000 crore to ramp up original Indian content. The US-based streaming giant recently said that its 2021 slate will be three times of this. Netflix had also announced that it is bullish on originals, and that it would be coming up with over 40 originals this year.

Voot Select

Similarly, Voot Select is also betting big on its content strategy, with originals forming the crux of it. Talking about Voot Select’s decision to foray into the ‘regional’ or non-Hindi language originals segment, Palia said: “The regional content market is a very bright one. We already have all of our originals available in multiple languages, but those would be dubbed versions.

“What we now want to do is make originals in that particular language and also have it available in multiple languages because the story is a story eventually. Indians are now getting used to consuming stories in different languages.”

The idea is to not limit Voot Select to only certain markets and offer a wide-range scale, he stressed.

Voot Select will have Showtime content, apart from being the exclusive destination for upcoming Paramount+ shows in the country.

Palia said that Voot Select’s feat of hitting around one million direct subscribers in a year’s time far surpassed the targets the company had in mind, and also claimed that it is probably the fastest growth any premium over-the-top platform has garnered in the time-period of a year.

“We started off with a massive hit, Asur, which was among the top two to three shows of the year. And that really gave us great momentum,” he said. The feat was also aided by the pandemic, which accelerated OTT consumption with people spending more time at home, he added.

Renewal rate

Palia also said that Voot Select’s renewal rate, or the rate at which customers decide to extend their subscription after a month’s or year’s time, is “probably higher than most in the industry”, though he did not share the renewal rate.

Published on March 12, 2021

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