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Tata Sky in pact with ShortsTV to bring over 2,000 premium short film titles

Tata Sky has joined hands with ShortsTV, the world’s first and only 24x7 TV channel dedicated to short films. The newly launched Tata Sky ShortsTV is said to be India’s first ever curated platform for short stories and films. A first of its kind service in Asia, Tata Sky ShortsTV will provide about 600 hours of unconventional and captivating short format stories on a single platform that can be accessed on-the-go.

Tata Sky ShortsTV will feature a line-up of 2,000 premium titles, including the best of Oscars, Cannes, etc., as well as a comprehensive collection of recent Indian short stories and films covering a variety of genres such as comedy, drama, thriller, mystery, crime and adventure amongst others. This premium offering will be available to subscribers 24x7 on their television and the Tata Sky Mobile App.

Speaking at the launch, Arun Unni, Chief Content Officer, Tata Sky, said, “As viewing habits evolve, short films have seen a huge surge in popularity across the world, including in India. Increasingly, prominent filmmakers and actors are using this creative medium to tell wonderful stories being watched by millions on the internet. However, there hasn’t been a single curated destination for the Indian consumer to watch this content. ‘Tata Sky ShortsTV’ aims to be that destination where a curated selection of 2,000+ of the World’s best short films can be enjoyed on a 24x7 basis. We are proud to partner with ‘Shorts TV’, who have worked hard for more than a year to localise the proposition with 500+ Indian short films.”

Commenting on the occasion, Carter Pilcher, Chief Executive at Shorts International Ltd and member of the Academy of Motion Pictures, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Tata Sky. They are India’s cutting-edge content distributor and, as their launch of Tata Sky ShortsTV proves, they are way ahead of the crowd. The new Tata Sky ShortsTV service is a fantastic addition to their value-added services portfolio and will be a huge success with millennial audiences and those who love the best movies. ShortsTV has also partnered with Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films to bring a flood of India’s most original and powerful short films to Tata Sky ShortsTV.”

Tata Sky ShortsTV is available on Tata Sky Mobile App and can also be accessed on Channel #113 (SD) and #112 (HD) at a cost of Rs 75 per month on TV through a STB and on watch.tatasky.com.

In conversation with Adgully, Arun Unni, Chief Content Officer, Tata Sky, speaks about the concept behind ShortsTV, partnering with Shorts International, content strategy and more. Excerpts:

What’s the concept behind ShortsTV? How was the idea conceived?

We have tried to put together an exclusive service that brings the world’s best short films of all languages, including regional languages like Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, etc. It also has many international languages.

How did the partnership materialise?

We started taking about two years ago. Carter was very keen to enter into Asia and especially in India. But at the time we spoke, we realised that coming into India requires a slightly different approach than what the others do. We gave a lot of input and lot of feedback on how to Indianize the content.

Who would be the TG base for such kind of content?

In general, anybody who has seen a short film once can watch another one. There is also nothing on the channel that is not suitable to children. We also have animated content. The only thing is the sensibility of content may or may not completely appeal to children. So, we are looking more for adult or youth audience.

Where will you be sourcing the content for shorts TV from? Any tie-ups with international producers/ production houses?

Shorts TV has curated content from all over the world. We have more than 2,000 short films on the platform, including Indian and international productions. You will see Indian stars like Naseeruddin Shah, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte and also international stars.

Are there any partnerships on the anvil with content creators for exclusive content on shorts TV?

Yes. Carter is in a better position to talk about that. But ShortsTV will directly do that partnership with the content creators. As we are the partners now, we are already working together to make it exclusive on the platform.

What is the channel pricing/ subscription rate for shorts TV?

It is Rs 75 per month, both in HD and SD, to all kinds of subscribers. It will be available not only on main screens but also on short screens, that is, the mobile. Within the mobile screens, there is a section called Short Films and we will populate all that.

Will it be an ad-free channel or are there tie-ups with advertisers for the channel?

Yes. Our premier content is always ad-free. We believe that this kind of premium viewing should be uninterrupted.

Will this be kind of a precursor for an OTT plans that Tata Sky might have?

We already have an app, Tata Sky Mobile. Whatever we do now-a-days, we pretty much have a leg on satellite as well as on the dish platform.

How will shorts TV differ from Tata Sky Activ offerings?

It is one of the services we have. We have a plethora of services, about 25-30 services, so this is one of them. If you are a Bollywood movie lover, we have Bollywood Premiere; if you are a dance lover, we have Dance with Madhuri; and we have devotional content. So, we have a variety of services for our subscribers.

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