A latest promotional campaign by streaming platform Disney+Hotstar featuring actor Shah Rukh Khan has led to a buzz among his fans, who are speculating if it is hinting at the superstar’s OTT debut.
Although no details have emerged, fans are wondering if it will be a movie release or a web series. Others feel it is just a promotion of the upcoming T20 cricket World Cup.
Competition in the OTT space is intensifying with players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+Hotstar expanding their reach with a slew of new shows and movie releases and trying innovative ways to attract the Indian audience.
In the campaign, the actor is seen standing on his balcony waving at fans, marvelling at his stardom, as the person next to him reminds him that his contemporaries such as Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt have their movies releasing on Disney+Hotstar.
The ad film then goes on to show that the platform has a range of content, including the T20 World Cup, exclusive shows and blockbusters by superstars, except SRK, and ends with a ‘to be continued’ sign.
The hashtag ‘#SiwaySRK’ later started trending on number two on Saturday with celebrities such as Karan Johar and Ranveer Singh retweeting it. “Never thought I’d see the day when even the Baadshah of Bollywood feels FOMO. Now I’ve seen everything!!,” said Johar.
The film has been conceptualised by All things Small, directed by Ayappa and produced by Early Man Films. Speaking about the campaign, Devaiah Bopanna, Co-Founder, All Things Small, said, the campaign was written along with Tanmay Bhat, Puneet Chadha, Vishal Dayama and Deep Josh.
Santosh Hegde, Director, Brand Marketing at Disney+Hotstar, said this is the kind of campaign any budding marketer would dream of. “It takes a certain kind of organisation to back a project as adventurous as this, and I am glad to be a part of one such setup, Hotstar,” he said in a LinkedIn post.
How leading OTT players are trying to increase reach
The OTT sector in India witnessed a 30% rise in the number of paid subscribers, from 22.2 million to 29.0 million, between March and July 2020, according to IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation). It said the Indian OTT market is set to reach Rs 237.86 billion ($3.22 billion) by FY25, from Rs 42.50 billion ($576.73 million) in FY19. The pandemic further pushed the acceleration of OTT video content in India.
While Netflix has been banking on their international content such as Money Heist along with exclusive Indian shows, Amazon Prime Video has armed itself with regional content.
Disney+Hotstar has got cricket enthusiasts on board with tournaments such as IPL and T20 World Cup. On the other hand, SonyLiv is grabbing the attention of sports fans and had streamed the Olympics exclusively on the platform.
With the lockdown skyrocketing OTT viewership amid a dearth of fresh content, Disney+Hotstar rode the ‘OTT’ trend in India by releasing mass entertainers meant for cinema, exclusively on the platform.
Although Amazon Prime Video was the first platform to have a direct-to-digital release.
The OTT market is becoming very dynamic and many newer players are ramping up their game to disrupt the space. Warner Media’s video streaming platform HBO Max is also set to launch in India and has been carrying out pre-launch surveys.