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Content creators discuss binge-worthy content at Vidnet 2019

Experts share their views on science and process behind creating binge-worthy content on OTT

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MUMBAI: Binge-watching has become synonymous to over the top (OTT) platforms and content. Indiantelevision.com’s summit Vidnet 2019 had an interesting panel discussion on creating binge-worthy content. The panel was moderated by Indiantelevision.com founder CEO and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari while MX Player CEO Karan Bedi, House of Cheer founder & CEO Raj Nayak, Vikatan Group managing director B Srinivasan and Viniyard Films founder Ashvini Yardi were the panellists.

Wanvari started off by asking the panellists about the shows they have binge-watched on Netflix. Yardi has binge-watched The Boys, Bedi watched The Spy, Nayak binge-watched Unbelievable and Srinivasan has watched Mirzapur.

Yardi first gave her definition to binge-watching by saying, “If we go beyond the allotted time in our head for the show, that’s binge-watching where we are hooked to the story.” On the other hand, Nayak says that you can’t categorise particular content as being binge-worthy. He said, “If we are creating content that it is good, people will watch it.”

Yardi argued, “Content can be made for binge-watching. Every online platform has guidelines according to the viewership data they have. For OTT – the first five minutes, in-between and the last seven minutes are very important. Those times are planned accordingly to hook the viewers. On television, we plan according to the breaks. Since OTT doesn’t have breaks, everything is planned from the storyline; it’s not just simple storytelling.”

Yardi believes that if content creators follow OTT’s format and create cliffs at regular intervals to hook the audiences, they can succeed in creating binge-worthy content.  

However, Nayak said, “OTT players have those set rules but otherwise also I feel these are the basics that content creators do because we want our viewers to come back on the show. So, we have to create those hooks due to which they stay on television or OTT.”

Whereas, Srinivasan said, “The character and content are behind the success. Definitely there is a science to it and data involved on how to refine the whole process. But I would say content and characters are important.”

MX Player has delivered 5 to 6 successful shows in the last six months. Sharing his experience, Bedi said, “Creating content on any platform requires a lot of efforts. On online, there is a huge difference while creating content for AVoD or SVoD platform. SVoD people have already paid and they are watching as they have invested in it. On AVoD, customers move in and out as they have not invested money for viewing there, so the level of hook that content creators need to create is very high.”

Wanvari also inquired whether the content creators constantly think of hooks or they line-up the story and then get into the hooks. Yardi replied, “We create the story and build the characters first and then get into hooks.”

She also informed, “Currently, in India, everyone is learning. Most of the platforms are using what they have from parent companies and try to localise the format. It’s not necessary what works on Netflix or Amazon in America will work here because our lifestyle and mindset is different. I feel it’s a trial and error period for OTT.”

Srinivasan also said, “We are trying to understand what kind of stories work for the OTT platform. We want to create that content. We have enough knowledge of the ecosystem but the biggest constraint would be getting the writers to write in a format that is required for OTT.”

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