Odisha’s OTT TarangPlus ready for bigger, better things

Headed by Litisha Mangat, the homegrown streaming platform aims to reach 2M subs by 2021


KOLKATA: In the state of Odisha, a little known regional OTT called TarangPlus is slowly but surely making its presence felt. Not many mainline players have heard of it and those who have, don’t put much store by it. But in the world of digital, dismissing anyone can prove fatal. Today’s minnow can become tomorrow’s whale shark.

Coming from the news-based Odisha Television network stable, which was founded by feisty entrepreneur and cable TV professional Jagi Mangat, TarangPlus is being steered by her sharp daughter Litisha Mangat.

An alumnus of IIM Calcutta, the young lady, who serves as the group’s digital operating officer, says she has set her sights on the big picture.

“What I am doing today may not have an impact in the short-term but it will definitely work in the long run,” assures the 20-something Litisha, who came on board TarangPlus only last year. “Lack of technology was one major issue when I joined. I am getting into more technologies which can integrate between TV and OTT because TV is not going anywhere,” she adds.

Launched in November 2019 as a platform to make progressive content, TarangPlus is Odisha TV’s biggest investment and bet. “We knew that society is moving forward and we need to move forward along with it. I am not aware of anybody in Odisha making as much as progressive content as we are,” Litisha claims.

The users on the platform are a “young, energetic and liberal crowd,” she adds, “aged between 18-34 from both the major cities in Odisha and from the hinterlands. The user demography is almost similar for both catch-up content and premium shows on AVoD and SVoD respectively.”

Currently, the ratio of network content and original content on the platform is 20:80. The idea was to launch a new piece of content every month; but Covid2019 put paid to those ambitions. Litisha continues to have her eye on that target, and will get things moving once large-scale shoots get the go-ahead from the authorities.

The silver lining, according to her, is that the last four-five months were a great opportunity for the team to study how consumers were navigating the app as there was not much fresh content being served on TV because of the lockdown. They got to measure and understand how many people actually made the switch to digital along with what they were consuming.

“We learnt what audiences want and that is what we are heading towards,” she states. “Our marketing strategy is simple. We pride ourselves as Odias. Odisha is a beautiful state replete with culture, lovely traditions and progressive festivals like Raja Parba (a festival that celebrates menstruation and womanhood.) We just want to tell stories that focus on showcasing the pride of Odisha.”

She is quite sanguine that TarangPlus has many advantages to its credit: being the first and only regional OTT platform in Odia, it will appeal to Odia diaspora who will love to watch, endorse the organic content that the platform has in store.

She is hoping to sign on at least two million active users in the coming year. Will she get there?

Well, she has the pedigree. Her father Jay Panda is a senior BJP leader.

And her mother, Jagi Mangat, is a trailblazer. She was the founder of the Ortel – Orissa’s MSO, which promised a lot initially but then failed. However, Jagi did not let that debacle deter her: she poured all her energy into OTV, expanded the channels under its portfolio by launching Tarang TV, Tarang Music, and Prarthana. Today, the Odisha TV network has burst into the top 15 Indian network league, just below ABP News. And the Youtube channel of OTV, boasts of a healthy four million subs.

Thinking back to when Odisha TV set out to prop its digital business, Litisha proudly says it was the first broadcaster in the state to do so. Realising the necessity to have a digital footprint, the network had launched its website nearly eight years ago. Later, the company also decided to launch two apps – one dedicated to news and the other serving general entertainment content. Moreover, it also has a user-generated news platform called Odisha Reporter which lets common people report on day-to-day issues and developments.

With that kind of a heritage, Litisha can only forge ahead.

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