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OTT platforms looking at more original films: Siddharth Anand Kumar

On OTT content of the film becomes more crucial than known faces.

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MUMBAI: Although web-series is the most discussed form of OTT content, some of the streaming services are also investing in content-driven original movies. Both international OTT players and home grown platforms in India have added original movies to their content catalogue. The change has expanded the scope for production houses, independent filmmakers to monetise low budget films easily. Popular music banner Saregama’s film venture Yoodlee Films which started last year has three of its movies on streaming giant Netflix. Two more films from the production house will be available on OTT platforms also.

In an interaction with Indiantelevision.com, Saregama VP TV and Films Siddharth Anand Kumar highlighted the potential of original movies on the platform and their plan to work on OTT platforms. Saregama India’s film division collaborated with Netflix for the streaming giant’s first Indian original film Brij Mohan Amar Rahe, a dark comedy. Other than that, Ajji and Kuchh Beheege Alfaaz produced by them are also available on Netflix.

Kumar thinks the potential of original movies on streaming platforms are growing. “OTT platforms are concentrating on putting more films as originals whereas till now we have been seeing more emphasis on series. I don’t think the focus on series will decrease but films are also getting in,” he said.

Explaining the reason he said as a series demands a high amount of time from viewer to finish watching it, there is a separate need for stories which can be consumed in a small span. Traditionally, young audience of age group 18-25 has been given more importance in digital spaces that can binge-watch a series. But, the audience aged above 30 needs content of shorter span.  Yoodlee Films spokesperson also highlighted the benefits films can leverage from a marketing angle. As good content driven movies can be screened in international film festivals, it’s an easy way to grab eyeballs. Critic review also helps to increase awareness through word of mouth.

The synergy between production houses and OTT platforms for originals can be regarded as win-win situation for both. While theatrical release cannot leave much impact without proper star-studded casting, those platforms have their own loyal viewer base. Moreover, content becomes more crucial than known faces.

“I feel that it’s important for us as a production house to build a business relationship with all the OTT platforms. So, naturally when you make a film you will go to everybody who is a potential buyer and say that this is our film, this is the quality of the product we are making and if you would like to buy let’s start talking. So we always approach,” Kumar commented while he was asked if it approached Netflix for Brij Mohan Amar Rahe.

“We have plans to work with all OTT platforms. What is important for us is not partnering with only one platform but creating something as a company where we can work with everybody. We want to take our films to any platform where it is needed Every platform has a specific niche. Some films will fit one platform, some will fit another,” he added.

While he was asked how they measure the audience response, Kumar said though any OTT platform does not share data with producers, there’s another interesting way to get feedback on digital. With the release of one film, lots of conversations take place on Twitter, Facebook. The production house has a dedicated team to monitor the chatter on social media.

While some concerns were raised regarding overflow of dark content on OTT platforms, he said as after a long time producers were freed from unnecessary restrictions, that was a natural reaction. Slangs, sex, violence – all despite being a part of commonplace life were strictly restricted from being shown on screen. “However, the cycle is now ending and we are realising other kind of content is equally important. Every kind of content will go on OTT,” he said.

With a team of 30 members, the company is looking at creating more thematic films. Though it’s playing in an untested territory of its parent company and monetisation could be a challenge, the success of released films till now speaks in its favour.

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