Hotstar, Zapr in strategic deal for next wave of mobile audience analytics in India


India’s biggest digital content platform by far, Hotstar, has inked a strategic partnership with Bangalore-based Zapr Media Labs to collaborate to create audience segmentation and targeting to empower the mobile advertising ecosystem. The coming together — in a partnership that’s seen Star India pick up a minority stake of an undisclosed amount in Zapr — is expected to  drive the next wave of mobile audience analytics in India  and empower  brands with an understanding of mobile audiences that they could leverage to create personalized communication and offers.

While access to the Internet has been exploding in India in the last few years, especially on the mobile screen, mobile marketing has been constrained till date by the lack of availability of platforms that bridge deep user engagement with audience segmentation.

We believe we have the opportunity to create the world’s premier truly personalized advertising service, which benefits both brands and consumers: Ajit Mohan, CEO – Hotstar
Many brands have deployed significant amounts of money on mobile in the last few years, especially through banner- and in-stream display ads, but marketers have been frustrated by the lack of brand building vehicles online that allow them to leverage deep audience analytics. So this  partnership could herald the emergence of more robust audience analytics and better accountability for results in the mobile marketing world and empower digital marketing.

“In the transition from the broadcast world to the digital world, advertisers got a data bonanza but in the process had to give up the ability to engage consumers who are actually paying attention to what they are saying,” said Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan.

Image-for-Ajit_Mohan-Hotstar-Zapr-deal-mobile-analytics-pavanrchawladotcom“Hotstar has the opportunity to build the world’s first platform on digital where consumers are engaged and immersed, while at the same time delivering deep audience understanding that allows brands to talk to individuals rather than segments. We believe that we have a shot at creating the world’s premier truly personalized advertising service, which benefits both brands and consumers.”

Sandipan Mondal

Sandipan Mondal, Co-founder and CEO, Zapr Media Labs, said, “We are excited to partner with Hotstar and Star on our journey to build a world-class media-tech company out of India. Over the past few years, Zapr has grown into one of the world’s largest media consumption repositories and audience cross-targeting platforms and this partnership further reinforces the incredible response we have received from our partners across brands, agencies and broadcasters. We look forward to accelerating the pace of our research and development, growing our product portfolio and building a deeper and long lasting relationship with the larger media and advertising industry.”

Needless to say, in Hotstar and Star India, Zapr has found a partner worthy of mobile audience analytics reporting.

Zapr’s proprietary technology platform analyzes television viewership across 600+ channels in India, providing targeted digital analytics and insight into offline consumption behaviour.

A communique said Zapr has built an analytics platform that combines this proprietary understanding with enriched data that allows advertisers to use it for sharper audience targeting and analysis. Zapr enjoys a strong foothold in the analytics space and as part of the next stage of growth, plans to invest further in R&D and grow the team across cross platform data sciences, analytics and product management.

For Hotstar, the partnership signals a clear intent to evolve from a media startup to a full-fledged technology and analytics company that shapes the next wave of mobile usage and advertising in India
Hotstar enjoys a massive lead in end-user downloads and engagement in the OTT space in India, and was the #1 OTT platform per App Annie’s annual report for India. With more than 60 million users in January 2017 marking a steadily maintaind sharp uptick in user growth in the last few months, the platform already boasts of some of the highest daily engagement amongst its followers. The announcement definitely is a big step in the direction of becoming the world’s premier personalized advertising service.

More on what ZAPR Media Labs does, in my next. Their stated promise to you is to help you understand and reach your offline audience better with data-driven technology. They operate through  digital signal processing, TV analytics and cross-platform advertising, and offer  a suite of services for brands, media buyers, broadcasters, movie studios, research agencies and app developers. I’ll also share a few case studies from their work. Till then.


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