Monday, April 13, 2015, 9:49 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
As the NABShow gets underway, broadcasters around the world are under intense pressure to deliver their content in new and innovative ways. One great example of early success is in India, where the country's largest broadcaster, Star India, recently launched Hotstar, a free, ad-supported mobile-first video service, supported by the Accenture Video Solution software platform. Last week, Francesco Venturini, Accenture's Global Managing Director, Media and Entertainment, brought me up to speed.
Hotstar is mainly a VOD service, offering a catalog of 45,000 TV shows and movies. But it also provides live-streaming access to major sports events, such as cricket and soccer, which put huge concurrent demand on the service. In February, Hotstar served 25 million video views during an India-Pakistan cricket match, which it believes makes it the most-watched sports event online ever. Hotstar also said it notched 340 million total views during the recent ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, driven by 87 million unique users.
According to Francesco, a key challenge for Hotstar was to deliver high-quality broadcast streams to over 7,000 different devices, including 400 types of Android mobile devices, using a wide variety of 2G, 3G, 4G and WiFi networks. Francesco said this required Accenture to develop new video compression and cloud-based delivery technology. Accenture is also managing customer service through a combination of its operations center in the Philippines and Hotstar's own team in India. Over 90% of Hotstar's video views to date have been on mobile devices. Ad management is being handled by Videoplaza.
With the Hotstar continuing to scale, Francesco sees the service as a blueprint for other broadcasters around the world who are interested in delivering premium content over mobile networks.