Show Time: “TV is fictional; Cinema is larger than life; OTT is in the realism space”

It’s SCREENXX time again, Adgully’s premiere property for the Video-On-Demand and Digital Entertainment space. In the run-up to SCREENXX 2020, we are lining up a series of interesting interactions and stories on the OTT space and highlighting how this sector is evolving and the consumers’ engagement with the OTT platforms, as part of our ‘Show Time’ series.

Also read:  Stage set for meeting of best minds in Digital video & OTT at SCREENXX today

In the first part of the series, Adgully spoke to versatile actor, TV host and comedian Gunjan Utreja, who shares is views on content consumption during COVID times, scope and scale of OTT platforms and much more.

What are the key digital trends that are bringing about a change in content consumption during COVID times?

Some are obvious:

  • High speed Internet at low cost
  • Bigger phone screens
  • Cheaper smart phones

All have resulted in consumption of content over the phone. But I personally feel that the time when TV wasn’t churning out new content due to shoot restrictions, OTT was bombarded with original content that not only attracted a lot of users, but also gave them a glimpse of what OTT is capable of.

TV shows, Movies and Original web content – all of it can now be consumed on one platform, and that too on demand.

One of the key highlights has been dubbing international content in local regional languages. This has made a lot of international content reach the living rooms of an average middle class non-English speaking Indian household.

Also, a lot of people are now creators. Apps like Instagram and TikTok have given an opportunity to millions across the country to create and curate content. So, a lot of new content is being created, which, in turn, inspires more creativity.

How do you see OTT platforms changing consumers’ expectations around the scope and scale of content?

Audience’s expectation and content preference would have changed with or without the lockdown. It is simply because we are now in direct comparison with the international market.

Now we are able to watch shows like ‘Paatal Lok’ and ‘Money Heist’ at the same time. We are now in direct competition with the international cinema or web series. So, if your content is not good and your storytelling is not so engaging, then it will be rejected.

How would you map the opportunity vis-a-vis consumer interest in the OTT video streaming market in India?

The opportunity is massive. And it is overwhelming to see how OTT is creating opportunities for new stories, storytellers and actors.

There was a huge vacuum between the content which was available on TV and cinema. TV is fictional; Cinema is larger than life. OTT has got into the realism space. And that is the biggest hook. The beauty of the space is not only the vast choices available in every possible genre, but the comfort of binge-watching the entire show at one go. Today, for makers there is no pressure of box office returns or TRPs. As long as the story is engaging, OTT platforms are happy to put it out. And that has given makers the freedom and courage to take risks. OTT is a win-win deal for actors, makers, audience and the OTT platforms.


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