‘Aashram’ got 60 mn viewers just from Maharashtra and Delhi NCR: Gautam Talwar

The third season of popular web series ‘Aashram’ is all set to stream on MX Player from June 3, 2022. Watched by 160 million unique users, the show has been a massive hit among the audiences and is one of the biggest franchises on Indian OTT. Produced and directed by Prakash Jha, the MX Original Series stars an ensemble cast comprising Bobby Deol, Aaditi Pohankar, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Darshan Kumaar, Anupriya Goenka, Esha Gupta, Sachin Shroff, Adhyayan Suman, Tridha Choudhury, Vikram Kochhar, Anuritta K Jha, Rushad Rana, Tanmaay Ranjan, Preeti Sood, Rajeev Siddhartha and Jaya Seal Ghosh.

In conversation with Adgully, Gautam Talwar, Chief Content Officer, MX Player, speaks at length about the traction received for the first two seasons, how has the AVOD business performed, his take on content piracy and much more.

Speaking on the traction received for the first two seasons of ‘Aashram’, Talwar said, “The traction has been phenomenal – 160 million unique viewers, 50 million views in 17 hours for ‘Aashram Chapter 2’, trending in six hours at #1 organically. That’s the beauty of the show. That’s the kind of love and traction that you get on the show, so expectations are very large for Season 3. Hopefully, we will be able to deliver.”

He further added, “We got 60 million viewers just from Maharashtra and Delhi NCR. So HSM is fantastic. We dubbed the show in multiple languages and it has been really phenomenal. We have got great viewership in Tamil Nadu. We have got great viewership in Telugu. The South has also been very integral to the growth. All the languages that we dubbed ‘Aashram’ in have got a very good response. Everybody talks about South films working here, the reverse works just as well if it is a good story.”

Talking about how the AVOD business has been for MX Player, Talwar said, “It has been fantastic! I think we are growing phenomenally well. Our shows are working, most of the shows are on Season 2. The only success parameter from an outside point of view without the number is that the show has season 2. We have done, ‘Samantar 2’, now ‘Aashram’ is getting its third season, ‘Queen’ is going to the second season; thus, the beauty is that all these are becoming franchises in their own right and that is what the consumer is telling us – that guys, we like what you are doing, so it works for us to be really honest.”

MX Player recently launched a show called ‘Roohaniyat’, which is a premium long format with around 50 episodes. Speaking about the show, Talwar said, “The first season has done phenomenally well. We will soon launch the second one and then the third one and then along with that a couple of more shows which are also premium long format.”

Continuing further, he said, “This is for the first time that we are actually creating a long format show. We know that there are consumers who binge watch Korean dramas of 100 episodes. Therefore, the appetite exists. Can we do it culturally in their own milieu and in their own language? Thus, ‘Roohaniyat’ was our first attempt at a long format show. There is a show called ‘Zakham’, which is on the floor right now, and there are multiple more that we are trying to work around.”

On the increase in content piracy, he noted, “We cannot solve this. We must come together to solve it. It’s weird that you put in so much money, effort, time, energy for everybody and then you go and see it on a pirated site. I think it just hurts all of us, it hurts the business, it hurts the industry, it hurts the platforms. Unfortunately, there is nothing that we can do. If we could have done it, we would have done it, but it’s weird that even for a free platform, the viewership on pirated platforms is phenomenally large. I think it is just a matter of habit, people are so used to pirating that you don’t even want to try the original platform. It is consumer behaviour that has to change.”

Giving a glimpse on what’s next on MX Player, he said, “We got some phenomenal Originals coming up in the next six months. We have got a very exciting slate, very exciting cast, very exciting directors and extremely exciting stories coming up in the near future. The titles are not fixed right now, ‘Chidiya Ud’ is one of them, which we finalised. ‘Chote Adam’ is another one that we finalised and there are many more in the bank. So, there’s a lot that is happening.”


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