2020 has surely been doomsday for thousands of businesses around the world. Although there is one industry, which laid down the fundamentals of our content and information consuming experience and enjoyed the fruits of success, The Over the Top platforms.
‘Liberating’ is the word many people use to describe these platforms, most of which are free from state censorship and contain a variety of genres. The number of OTT platforms has seen a spike in the last couple of years, not many though have managed to get as much success as Netflix and Hotstar.
Two streaming giants, originally from two different geographics have managed to become household names because of the quality, controversy, and discussion regarding the shows which feature on them.
Although, in the same field and with a more or less similar type of audience, there remains a lot of difference between them.
Netflix vs Hotstar
The difference between Netflix and Hotstar is that Hotstar offers two subscription patterns (VIP and Premium), with differing nature of content. Netflx on the other hand doesn’t have different subscription layers on the basis of content.
Structurally, the payment option of Hotstar is dependent on the type of subscription which the user chooses, VIP, or Premium. Netflix has no such subscription layer, it determines the nature of payment according to the screen you prefer to view your content on.
Comparison Table Between Netflix and Hotstar
|Parameters of Comparison||Netflix||Hotstar|
|Subscribers||182 million||73.7 million|
|Highest IMDB rated movie (2020)||Schindler’s list||Interstellar|
|Owned by||Reed Hastings||Star India|
|Country of origin||United States of America||India|
What is Netflix?
Developed in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, Netflix was a ‘Pay per rental’ DVD provider to start with. Today it is the largest content streaming platform in the world. Netflix was one of the first ones to start in this business and make it big by molding itself according to the needs of the times.
Netflix has over 183 million subscribers in 190 countries. It is not available in countries like Syria, North Korea, and China. Along with gigantic bases all over the planet, Netflix is mostly famous for the quality of content which it provides, the reach of the same, and linguistic diversity.
Netflix was the perfect thing to happen to the world in the late 20th century when the world was on a threshold of starting anew in many sectors. Many content creators and distributors were plagued by the concept of piracy around the same time. In the beginning, Netflix distributed authorized DVDs to people’s doorsteps. The makers might have had no idea that a small DVD distribution was going to help the sustenance of millions of lives, 20 years down the line.
Netflix’s graph was parallel to the growing popularity of pop culture. Just when DVD players were the new thing in the market, Netflix had launched the world’s first online DVD rental store.
On 10th July 2020, Market Capitalization declared Netflix as the largest entertainment media industry. Netflix doesn’t only stream movies by different national and international banners but also has its own in-house production house which makes movies across the world.
What is Hotstar?
Owned by Star India and subsidized by Walt Disney, Hotstar (+ Disney) is the most successful online streaming OTT platform in India. With over 300 million active users, 18 million paid users, Hotstar tops the list of the numerically best OTT platforms in India.
Started in 2015, Hotstar struck a chord with one of the largest populations of the world, by streaming cricket matches in India. This decision turned out to be extremely beneficial for the platform.
During the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Hotstar garnered 340 million-plus views. In the same year, it got 200 million views from streaming the cash-rich cricket tournament, the Indian Premier League. 4 years later, in 2019, the final match of the IPL attracted 18.6 million eyeballs and thus broke all the records. This record was broken by another match, the 2019 Cricket World Cup Semi-Final between India and New Zealand with 25.3 million views. The record is still unbroken.
Not many in India are fascinated by the western TV shows and US, UK specials, except for the urban population. Though infamous for the unintentional humor, Indian daily soaps still are the primary option of the majority in the country.
Although Hotstar has a 2 tier payment system, the Indian tv shows and the daily soaps are available for free. This fact has added to the popularity of Hotstar and made it a household name.
Main Differences Between Netflix and Hotstar
- Censorship – Netflix streams shows primarily uncensored. Though there are instances when Netflix had to edit or scene two, for convenience in certain countries.Hotstar here is more infamous for undertaking the acts of censoring content. Disney is one of the co-owners of the application, any comment or joke against Disney characters is censored out.
- Subscription – Netflix has a single-tier subscription system, it only changes for different screens. Hotstar has two subscription options, VIP and Premium. Both of which provide a different range of content.
- The quality of a video on Netflix depends on the internet speed and cannot be altered manually. In the case of Hotstar, one can manually change the quality of the video.
- The highest quality of video on Netflix is 4K ultra HD, while that on Hotstar is of 1080p (4k for premium)
- On Netflix, a video can be downloaded multiple times. On Hotstar if the user doesn’t watch the downloaded content in 7 days, they can never download it again.
Netflix and Hotstar both may be rivals in India, but internationally there seems to be no competition whatsoever. Netflix has its roots in almost every country whereas Hotstar still has a very limited presence, globally.
Besides there are other streaming giants, namely Amazon Prime, Voot, Sony Liv, Wawza, Kaltura, etc, most of which function in a given demographic. All of these platforms have collectively changed not only the viewer’s perception of the content that they are consuming but also that of the makers.
From being touted as the second fiddle to the cinema halls to give a strict competition to the same, the industry has grown by leaps and bounds.