Star India-owned video-streaming platform Hotstar posted a near 20% increase in losses at Rs 489 crore for the year to March 2017, according to filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) and data platform Tofler. In FY16, it reported losses of Rs 408.9 crore. Hotstar is operated by Novi Digital Entertainment, a subsidiary of Star India.

Revenue from operations increased 81.4% to Rs 321 crore from Rs 178.5 crore in FY16. The platform’s subscription revenue increased a little more than four times at Rs 129.4 crore in FY17 from just Rs 24.17 crore in FY16. Advertising revenues witnessed a 24% increase to Rs 16.8 crore in FY17.

Moreover, the company earned Rs 23 crore from licensing of content to others. Employee benefit cost rose 97% to Rs 83.3 crore in FY17 from Rs 42.3 crore.

Novi Digital Entertainment started operations in February 2015 and posted a net loss of Rs 77 crore on revenue of Rs 51.7 crore before closing FY15, so the figures weren’t comparable.

In India, Hotstar directly competes with the likes of international subscription based video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos, among a host of other video OTT players.

In April 2016, the company introduced premium content on the platform. It recently inked a multi-year SVOD deal with Disney India which includes streaming rights for movies like Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney’s The Jungle Book and Moana, amongst others. The platform charges Rs 199 per month.

According to data released by Comscore, Hotstar is the second largest video streaming platform after Google’s free-to-watch product, YouTube, with a userbase of 220 million as of January 2018. The total number of unique viewers stood at 28 million in January, as users spent 2 billion minutes watching content on the platform. – Financial Express