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ShemarooMe is riding on many platforms that already have subscribers: Hiren Gada

Well-known film trade analyst Komal Nahta will be seen in a different role as he takes a walk down memory lane with yesteryears stars for ShemarooMe’s chat show, ‘Komal Nahta… Aur Ek Kahani’. Designed and presented by the OTT service from Shemaroo Entertainment Limited, the new show will get the best of the yesteryears under one roof and reminiscence about the power that Bollywood classics still hold in today’s day and age of cinema.

Nahta has already shot the show with artists like Jeetendra, Jackie Shroff, Javed Akhtar, Shakti Kapoor, Johnny Lever, Prem Chopra, Gulshan Grover, Poonam Dhillon, Sooraj Barjatya, Satish Kaushik, and Pyarelal ji, to name a few, sharing many entertaining and unheard tales. A mix of funny anecdotes, emotional turmoil, career obstacles, striking revelations shows the other side of the stars.

‘Komal Nahta… Aur Ek Kahani’ will be available on ShemarooMe and DTH platforms, including Tata Sky Classic Cinema, Dish TV Evergreen Classics, d2h Evergreen Classics and Airtel Sadabahar Hitz. The show format connects with the millennials and audiences of all age groups.

Hiren Gada, CEO, Shemaroo Entertainment, commented, “Bollywood classic cinema has always been the strength of Shemaroo, and the chat show is an innovation to connect with audiences across all age groups. As we celebrate the golden era in the presence of accomplished Bollywood celebrities, we are delighted to have Komal Nahta join us in our new journey, who has impeccable knowledge about the industry and shares true bond with the stars.”  

In conversation with Adgully, Hiren Gada sheds more light on ‘Komal Nahta… Aur Ek Kahani’, the concept, roping in Komal Nahta for the show, marketing strategy, following a hybrid model, growing the subscriber and more. Excerpts: 

Read More: #TwitterChat: Kranti Gada on why diversifying OTT content is a must

Please tell us about the thought process behind a show like ‘Komal Nahta… Aur Ek Kahani’?
We have been working with content like this and distributing it for decades – from video cassettes and television to digital. We thought there is so much more that has gone behind that content. These are all living legends available to us to share those stories. The question was how we could bring those moments back to life and present it to the audience in a way that they would love it in today’s format.

We cannot recreate that content, but we can attempt to recreate those moments. That has been our effort. A lot of fans of that golden era of cinema have given us good wishes and their good will. We are lucky to have had the opportunity to work with some really senior and prominent people like Komal Ji, Manoj. That has given it a lot of authority and passion, which has driven it.

How did you decide to get on board Komal Nahta?
He is a prominent trade analyst. He has critiqued movies for decades. He has seen every movie from that angle, he knows every actor, and thus, he knows the journey graph of these actors. That combination of the creative and commercial aspect, which is so rare and unique, has helped raise the bar on this so tremendously.

Why have you chosen a hybrid model for your OTT business?
We have divided our content as premium and non-premium content. In India, we recognise that there is a large audience that will look for free content or will not have the propensity or ability to pay. We still need to reach out to them, serve them, create a connect between the audience and the content, and with Shemaroo itself. At some point we hope to migrate them into the subscription side. It is going to be a combination. In India, if you look at television, it, too, is a combination of free and paid TV.

How is it helping you in attaining new subscribers?
Our core thought process when we worked on ShemarooMe was actually to create a lot of B2B distribution relationships such as telcos, video platforms, and international platforms. We have been working with multiple platforms. That has been the key thought process for ShemarooMe. We are in a way riding on many platforms that already have subscribers. That is a synergy of content and customer that is creating value for the audience, the platform and for Shemaroo.

We have been seeing growing use of OOH for promoting OTT shows. What is your promotion strategy for your new show?
While OOH is a local winner, what we saw when we mapped many marketing campaigns is that many people have used digital and television very successfully. No doubt the use of OOH medium has increased in the last couple of quarters, but it is always going to remain a mix of traditional and digital. Fundamentally speaking, if you have a digital offering, then digital is a key medium to market and attract consumers.

How has your differentiated content strategy helped ShemarooMe grow as a platform?
Bollywood is the key for us and our consumers. What we are observing is that as the user base is growing on digital, a lot of consumers’ segmented needs and preferences are getting more and more traction. India is a highly heterogeneous country, so we are more like Europe and not like the US, where there are 23 countries within one in that sense. Our cultural preference leads to varied consumption. Many of these segments which at a smaller base were not viable and sounded like niches; they actually become full-fledged viable segments when the base grows bigger. If you draw a parallel with television again, you have the original GEC, then come movies, sports, infotainment. That was when the base grew.

As we grow from 350 million digital users to 800 million in the next 4-5 years, many segments will emerge and scale up because many consumers will come from different geographies, age groups and socio-economic demographics.

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