The true Bharat is only opening up to the idea of digital: Gautam Talwar, MX Player

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. 

In conversation with Adgully, Gautam Talwar, Chief Content Officer, MX Player, speaks about the digitisation of content and the growing expectations of the audiences in terms of storytelling, scale, and innovation. 

Also read:  "India the only country to see an increase in demand for content in multiple languages"

What are the key digital trends that are bringing about a change in content consumption during COVID times?
In the past few years, the media and entertainment in India has undergone such a drastic transformation, becoming one of the most lucrative markets for entertainment in the world. The entertainment industry has always been at the cutting-edge of technological advancement and development and the last six months has seen this trend only accelerate, with digitisation of content spearheading this evolution. 

With social lives moving online, entertainment segments, including television, online gaming and OTT platforms have seen tremendous traction, and will only continue to grow. 

Every genre/ format is finding a place in the hearts and minds of the viewer – be it movies, web shows, long format, short format, documentaries, dramas, thrillers so on and so forth, but originals continue to be an audience favourite. 

The digital world has been attracting new consumers and expanding to new locations and demographics. While the millennials will continue to experiment with newer formats and genres, the older generation are more inclined towards traditional TV, but through a digital ecosystem. 

Instead of an organic, gradual shift to digital, what crashed down on us was a tsunami of change with the advent of this pandemic. Audiences are experimenting a lot more, so the opportunities are endless – the key today is nuanced storytelling with new distribution technologies. We have seen this reflected across our platform – be it with films or International content or with new content types/ genres for our Originals. This viewership trend is likely to continue in the imminent future as well.

How do you see OTT platforms changing consumers’ expectations around the scope and scale of content?
Audiences today have access to content from across the world, thanks to digitisation. So, expectations in terms of storytelling, scale, and innovation are only getting higher, I would say. On MX Player, we have something for every taste palette/ mood – you want to watch something grand, you can tune into ‘Aashram’ or ‘Queen’; for something snackable, you can watch ‘Hey Prabhu’, ‘Thinkistaan’ or ‘Pawan & Pooja’; and if you’re in a mood to experiment with regional content, you can binge watch ‘Samantar’ or ‘Do Not Disturb’.

How would you map the opportunity vis-a-vis consumer interest in the OTT video streaming market in India?
The digital space in India is still evolving, so the opportunity is massive. What is important is to keep a finger on the pulse of the audience. The varied content catalogue that OTT offers, coupled with the concept of watching them wherever and whenever you want, is the biggest hook for this medium. Unlike the West, India missed out on premium content on TV and that’s the need gap that OTT is bridging. The true Bharat is only opening up to the idea of digital, we still have a long way to go.


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