It’s a purveyor of original Indian content and generously offers free peeks at its exclusive wares, but is AltBalaji really worth paying for?
Founded in 2015 and launched in mid-2017, AltBalaji is a subscription-based video-on-demand platform that aims to globally deliver original, premium and tailor-made content to its Indian audience. After ending its first year of service with over 1.2 million paid subscriptions and 800 million minutes of content watched, AltBalaji is well on track to securing a decent piece of India’s video-streaming market (which is projected to become the world’s largest by 2020).
AltBalaji’s success lies in its cost-effective pricing (coming in quite a bit cheaper than Netflix, for example) and the service offers a sizable library of original Indian programming – something that’s not unique in local VOD circles, but it pumps them out with greater frequency. Basically, AltBalaji has managed to secure its own niche spot in the market, between the high-brow stuff on Netflix and the fare one usually sees on Indian television.
How much does AltBalaji cost?
Moving from a free AltBalaji account to the paid subscription option comes with a bunch of privileges. You can watch all the episodes from every show, and you can also download shows to watch later, so you can effectively entertain yourself when offline. Lastly, you can also share the service with five devices simultaneously.
You have a choice of three streaming membership plans. You can get 3 months for INR100, 6 months for INR180 or 12 months for INR300, and you can pay for the plans via a major credit card or PayPal. New users should be aware that any sign up will start an auto-renewal system that you will need to manually opt out of. You can cancel your sub at any point of your subscription period, but you won’t get a refund for that period.
What content does AltBalaji offer?
This service that has all your favourite genres covered, ranging from drama, comedy and romance to thrillers, mystery and crime. This is a library that has shows for just about everyone, including youngsters, working professionals and families. In terms of movies, AltBalaji boasts all the latest hits from prominent Bollywood actors including Priyank Sharma, Imran Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, John Abraham, Sunny Leone, Akshay Kumar, Emraan Hashmi and more. If you’re after something for the youngsters be sure to check out shows like Happy Lucky KI katti batti, Moe Doe: The Frenemies, Nursery Rhymes, and Ding Dong Bell L-O-L. There are also licensed kids shows like Mademoiselle Zazie, Little Krishna and Shuriken School.
In line with other Indian-based VOD service providers, AltBalaji has been dabbling in its own original content creations, which are pitched as “new-age, alternative stories written by acclaimed writers, starring popular celebrities, and directed by award-winning directors”. If you’re after exclusive content, you should start with Bose Dead/Alive, Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat, Dev DD, Bewafaa Si Wafaa, Romil & Jugal, and Boygiri.
Language-wise, AltBalaji covers most of the major bases: many shows offer support for Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil and many more languages.
Does AltBalaji offer a free trial?
Yes, but it’s not an all-access pass for a set time period. You can sign up with an email and you can watch three episodes per original show absolutely free. After that, you’ll need a paid subscription.
What devices are compatible with AltBalaji?
You can access AltBalaji’s library of original, exclusive and tailor-made shows across 32 different interfaces including desktops, laptops, tablets, smart-phones, game consoles and Internet-ready televisions. For website access, your browser should be above the minimum versions listed: Chrome Browser 4.7, Mozilla 4.5, Internet Explorer 11 and Safari 9.0.
For the official phone apps, your device OS should be updated to the following versions: Android 4.4.4 and above, and IOS 9 and above. Lastly, Android TV users need to be on 5.1 and above.
How does AltBalaji compare?
How much data does AltBalaji use?
Note: these are all rough estimates only. Your mileage may vary.