Are OTT Players Weaning People from Television?
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How many of us have stopped watching television and switched to apps like Hotstar and Netflix or Amazon and Voot? While for some it is about the variety, for others it’s quality or it’s just about convenience.
Very often on social media platforms, we come across Twitteratis and Facebookers, who complain about the deteriorating content on television, especially in comparison to western shows like Game of Thrones, Narcos, and House of Cards.
This has raised a question — is the media and entertainment industry going through a silent change? Are digital platforms eating into television share?
Entrepreneur India got into touch with Indranil Chakraborty, CEO, Big Synergy, a production house bringing out content for both television and OTT platforms, to understand about the change the content industry going through.
Is There a Shift?
Contrary to popular perception that people, in general, are switching to some of the other OTT platforms instead of the TV, Chakraborty claimed no shift was as such happening, but these platforms are getting added on.
“My sense is that people are consuming more entertainment content now,” he added.
He explained his statement by giving a simple example. “There is a certain category of people who watch TV either for news or sports. They wouldn’t consume any standardized, entertainment content, catering to the masses that we loosely call opera soaps,” he said.
With OTT players coming in, these consumers, who are generally the youth that have moved away from television, has got a new platform to consume content, Chakraborty opined.
Earlier there were people who would never watch TV or watch Indian movies. But with multiplexes showcasing western movies and with Netflix and other players entering the Indian market, these people have started spending money on content consumption.
“I don’t think the shift is happening, it is just the pie is becoming bigger. Here, technology is the biggest enabler because it takes the content to you and the growing disposable income is actually helping it. India has a huge benefit of the youth population.”
The core process of content creation will remain the same, he stressed, “but we will actually have a convergence of screens. So, fundamentally, we will have three different screens in three different sizes —your mobile, desktop/ laptop and your TV.”
“Majority of people will watch content on various screens, depending on the time of the day — on mobile while travelling, on your laptop during lunch break and on television sitting at your dinner tables,” said Chakraborty, who has previously worked with media houses like Sony and Saregama India.
There will also be various segments in a show — whether you want to watch 100 episode series or 10 episode series.
“Previously, the question was what to watch, whom to watch and where to watch. But these days, another question has been added to this list – on which screen to watch?” he pointed out.
So, How Big Synergy is Changing its Strategy?
Until a few years ago, Big Synergy, a Reliance Group company, was known for its special, mostly non-fiction shows such Kaun Banega Crorepati, which is broadcasted in more than six to seven languages. But in the past two years, Chakraborty and his team had been working towards redefining the company by creating all-variety content for both television and digital platforms.
“It is a work in progress. I am not sure but I would like to believe that we are the only people in a partnership with Phantom Productions that are producing content for most of the digital platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar or Voot,” he shared.
Meanwhile, Reliance also partially owns Phantom. The partnership is mostly about sharing of talent from writers to directors and operations. Chakraborty added, “Basically, it’s a strategic partnership with a certain bunch of people. This has given us a lot of mileage.”
Unlike its competitors such Balaji Telefilms, Big Synergy wants to stick to being content producers because the parent company Reliance has their platforms called Bigflix, which they are likely to re-launch Chillax.
“Reliance will not use Synergy to launch a platform. But we are more likely to produce shows for the parent company’s platform,” he stressed.