Rise of "regional" in the OTT space - Stage has made a unique impact on regional culture, dialect, and entertainment The past few years with OTT platforms have been a predominance of a certain genre of content that has been synonymous with the west. It turns out that "people don't want to watch regional" has never been the case at all

By Puneet Kapani

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Vinay Singhal, Co-founder Stage

Stage, a regional OTT platform has proved the power and opinion of an Indian audience with its conquest for authentic regional content. Here's what Stage, Co-Founder & CEO, Vinay Sehgal had to say about their venture!

Crossing the dialect barrier

"We are not a country of languages; we're a country of dialects," says Vinay. The founding blocks of Stage were based on identifying a gap with audiences beyond urban settlements who are used to a certain dialect.

Thus, the world's first dialect-based content company, Stage was founded, with a mission to address over 30 such dialects across the country. "We can address about a billion with their preferred local dialects," he added.

Impact on the underserved rural audience

The dialogue and content being created by Stage through its platform are aimed at making a certain sector of the rural audience inclusive for OTT-based entertainment. Vinay believes, "In Bharat, as an audience segment, most companies don't look at this rural segment with respect. The notion is that they don't value products, and consume good premium content."

This could not be further from the truth. Stage believes that any such misconception is only because no premium platforms cater to their requirements. "They want to consumer better quality content, and that is what we are creating," he added.

The impact on a larger level is to help build a better society with sensible content that uplifts these sections for the better. On the flipside, Stage is also able to give a platform to hundreds of local creators whose content otherwise remained underappreciated.

Transitions in the pandemic

"Pandemic changed us in a big way. We are one of those companies which had both good and bad impacts," Vinay shared. While more people were suddenly shifted to watching content online, the struggles with shooting this content and making it available were experienced throughout this period.

Production came to halt in many industries in the pandemic, and Stage was no exception. "On the positive side, we scaled from 100,000 users to 1.5 million users in a very short span of time. We also had the chance to look at the production line and think of innovative ways to create content," he said.

What the future holds for OTT and Stage

"You have to keep looking ahead. You can't follow the market or copy others in what they do," Vinay says. He believes, "The user is at the center of everything that we do." Putting the consumer at the center of the picture and figuring out how to better serve them is a timeless strategy.

This comes with an improved user experience, new features, designs, and premium content that drives the masses. "We want to go deeper in the Haryana market. We also want to commence our growth in the Hindi belt with dialects like Marwadi, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Awadhi, and so on," Vinay shared their vision for the future.

• Year of inception- 2019

• No. of employees- 25

• Revenue for FY 2020-21-Not to be disclosed.

• External funding received so far- 17cr

• Major clients- B2C

•Any IP developed/patented- All the original content produced by our company is the unique IP owned by us.

Puneet Kapani

Former Features Editor

Puneet Kapani, former features editor for Entrepreneur India, is self-driven and passionate about happenings and nuances of the world. She writes on lifestyle, gadgets, beauty, wellness, entertainment and technology updates around the globe. She has previously worked with L’Officiel India magazine, FHM Magazine and Times Internet. 

Catch a glimpse of her work at @PuneetKapani on LinkedIn and @puneetkapani on Instagram.

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