When Star India launched Hotstar in February, it was seen as a mobile app that would supplement live television coverage of the 2015 cricket world cup with videos and live streaming, with some entertainment content thrown in.
It has turned out to be much bigger than that. Star India is now pushing 35,000 hours worth of content from its entertainment, movie and sports channels to the app and with over 25 million downloads so far, Hotstar is India's first such success on the mobile platform in India.
To up the ante further, the company has now hired Varun Narang, a senior executive from Hulu, the US-based online video streaming service. The company will count on Narang's past experience in its attempt to turn the app into India's 'Hulu', and stream entire seasons of TV shows and similar content on its mobile app.
Mint reported that Narang will help Hotstar accelerate operations, direct teams to create content specifically for the app, raise the quality of video playback and integrate native advertising.
E-commerce biggies such as Flipkart and Snapdeal have also hired from Silicon Valley to access senior tech managerial talent.
Digital ad revenues in India are expected to touch Rs 4,661 crore in 2015. India is among countries where smartphone usage is growing the fastest in the world, but data usage has remained low as most subscribers are stuck with 2G speeds. Hotstar has managed to make inroads because the app also works on slower connections, which makes up for the majority of Indian mobile users.