Are you spoilt for choice between Hotstar, Netflix & Amazon? Is the confusion giving you sleepless nights? Are you dying to decide on which one to subscribe? Relax, you have reached the right place. I will answer the question plaguing millions of viewers across India.
If someone would have told me 2-3 years back that not in the very distant future, I would stop paying for my Tata Sky Plus HD connection, I would have probably wagered against it. After all, Tata Sky with its pause, play, record options, high quality formats & long list of channels was the coolest thing in Indian living rooms.
The advent of Netflix & other content streaming platforms has totally changed the way content is consumed in India.
Hotstar which was the first entrant is backed by Star TV – the network behind hugely successful Hindi TV shows. Thanks to the support of their parent company Newscorp, Hotstar has been able to purchase quality content from US & other countries.
The top shows on Hotstar include hits such as Modern Family, Homeland, 24, Fresh off the boat. Their biggest strength though lies in their HBO tie up, which allows them to add titles such as Sopranos, Veep & Game of Thrones – probably the biggest TV show on the planet right now. Users can also consume Hotstar’s huge line up of Hindi TV shows & movies. Hotstar also has a huge line up of sporting events including the IPL! It recently got Republic News on board. The deal breaker though is it’s limited movie library. At ₹200 per month it is a very good value for money buy. Hotstar can be accessed through its mobile app, Smart TV’s, google chromecast & through web. It is not compatible with Xbox One/PS4.
Netflix launch was one of the most eagerly awaited events in the country. When rivals in the content streaming segment like Hotstar, YouTube were charging no money for consuming their content, Netflix changed the rules of the game by charging a whopping ₹600 bucks for their monthly HD subscription.
Netflix boasts of a huge library of world class TV shows, movies & documenataries, stand up comedies from across the globe. The sheer size of its library dwarfs all of its competition combined! Apart from homegrown content including TV shows like House of Cards, Orange is the new Black, 13 reasons why, Bojack Horseman, Netflix’s tie with Marvel is its biggest USP. Netflix- Marvel tie up has led to extremely popular shows like Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones & Iron Fist. Their tie up with Adam Sandler has yielded 3 movies. Hits not produced by Netflix include Better Call Saul, Gotham, Suits, How to Get Away With Murder, Broadchurch etc. It’s movie line up of English, Hindi & regional content is admirable. Netflix content is accesssible through their mobile app, smart TV’s, Xbox One, PS4, web. Netflix has recently started allowing users to download content on to their phones or laptops. The only reason why any urban Indian TV & movie connoisseur would not subscribe to Netflix is it high price. Hotstar clearly beats it when it comes to Indian content & Amazon Prime is way more affordable.
The last entrant into the online content streaming arena was Amazon Prime.
The biggest USP of Amazon Prime is its throw away price of ₹499 for the entire year! Which is way lower than Hotstar – ₹1200 & Netflix – ₹7200. Their content line up of Emmy winning TV shows like Goliath & other popular home grown content like The Patriot, Transparent, Red Oaks is impressive. The Mentalist series, good line up of Indian stand up comedies make the ₹499/year price very reasonable. Amazon Prime’s biggest strength vis-a-vis its competition is its movie line up. Be it Hindi, regional or English Amazon Prime easily has the best movie line up.The added advantage of subscribing to Amazon Prime is faster delieveries of your online orders from Amazon.
Amazon Prime is accessible through Smart TV’s, mobile apps, Firestick & web. Amazon refused to comment on when their tie up with Xbox One & PS4 abroad will be extended to India.
The earlier issue of not being accessible through google chromecast or Xbox One/PS4 has now been addressed by launching the Firestick.
If I were to pick a winner amongst the three I would definitely pick Netflix. Netflix wins hands down thanks to its huge content line up. If media sources are to be believed the library will only get bigger & better from here on. The local content in the Netflix library too will get a huge boost owing to their exclusive tie up with top production houses in the country
If I had to omit one from my monthly subscription – it would be Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime needs to better its English TV shows library.
But, as far as subscriptions are concerned Hotstar is the clear winner at 64 million & Netflix is at 4.4 million. Other rivals like Voot – which is no where in the race as far as content is concerned is at 13 million.
The biggest loser in this war of online content streaming players are Tata Sky, Dish TV etc who will have to come up with a way to deal with increasing number of urban English content viewing audiences who will stop paying for TV subscriptions.