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Bodhi Tree focusing on three verticals to scale up business

The next content slate includes biopic and period drama

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MUMBAI: Over the top (OTT) services have given a big boost to production houses in the country  Bodhi Tree Multimedia, started by Mautik Tolia and Sukesh Motwani five years ago, only concentrated on general entertainment programs on TV initially. Following the change in the overall entertainment industry, they have also expanded their work arena. Currently standing with a team of around 50 people, the production house is aspiring to scale up its business by focusing on three verticals – GEC, regional and the freshly included web content.

The three verticals operate with completely separate teams. Show type dictates team structure because sensibility for each genre and vertical is different. Bodhitree Multimedia’s three shows with two leading broadcasters are currently on air including Aap ke Aa Jane se, Fearfiles and Hrudayaat Vaaje Something. After already having established its position in the TV production space, it has also entered the booming digital space. Its two web series Banned and 13 Mussourie are also streaming on Viu, while one with Voot is yet to be released.

In the content pipeline, it has five-six web properties for different OTT platforms while for GEC two-three shows with leading broadcasters are under development. The next content slate also include biopics and period pieces. Both the founders spoke to Indiantelevision.com and reaffirmed that they will pay equal attention to all the segments.

“We are very clear right now in terms of being able to find a way to give equal importance to each vertical. We still believe TV is big and it will grow and we need to have a very strong presence there. We also believe web is here to stay and gives us more experimentation for new content. We also feel regional content is going to be lot more relevant now both on TV and web. We are also focusing on synergies that can be worked on between OTT, television and regional content,” Bodhi Tree Multimedia director Tolia commented.

“We are very much focused on different business activities. Only thing we are doing is being clear about the slate we are developing and the product we are developing. So, there we are particular about what we do but not in terms of a single line of business,” he added.

Talking about digital content, Tolia said that since it’s an evolving medium right now, content creators are trying to figure out the type of viewers and their preference for content.

However, along with the rapid growth of OTT in the country, the question of regulation has also been raised. A certain section of the industry has feared if a regulatory framework comes in, it may curb the creative freedom of producers and the platforms.

“I feel that as long as there are some very basic standards and practices, it’s about how to have some ethics for content. Those ethics need not be very restricted. The whole idea is that content has to understand and mature. So, there will be certain discussions that will happen, certain kind of code that should come but how restricted that’s code going to be that’s the debate,” Bodhi Tree Multimedia director Motwani commented on the issue.

Over the five years going through changes, working with leading platforms, the road was definitely not all flowery. Motwani said they took up interesting challenges in terms of content they made which were slightly different. As the content they create is more complex, realistic with more layered characters, they end up spending a little more time than other producers. Due to the run-of-the-mill content, they don’t follow the usual economy of scale model. Hence it has led to the question if they can make the amount of money that another producer makes.

“We are passionate and that keeps our hunger growing. So that has been one fascinating challenge for us and also the idea that while we are taking on a different type, can it still deliver a hit. How do we mix popular elements with different ideas, how do we mix the grammar of telling a story which can reach to a mass viewer while the theme itself is slightly unconventional?” Motwani added.

In a stark contrast to many other production houses who concentrate on only one genre, Bodhi Tree Multimedia keeps working in different segments across TV and digital. In addition to that, as demand for OTT content increases, it is optimistic that new opportunities will open up. While it acknowledges the learning curve has to be very steep and high for developing expertise in all segments, there is confidence that they are strategically placed at the right position.

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