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OTT platforms may see scarcity in long-format premium content in H1- FY22

They are looking at ways to shoot to ensure financial stability.

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KOLKATA: It may be the heyday of over-the-top (OTT) platforms but it’s not like the pandemic will not have any impact on their operations. While everything appears great on the surface, the constraints of shooting large-scale projects are going to affect the pipeline of long-format premium originals in the first half of FY22, according to executives who spoke at ‘Future of OTT content and its evolution in India’, hosted by Indiantelevision.com. Being cautious of the situation, the platforms are going to evolve content formats which can be shot amid all the constraints.

MX Player chief content officer Gautam Talwar accepted that it would run out of shows which were shot before lockdown by the end of the year. The platform is trying to see if it can change the narrative and also trying to explore if there are shows which can be produced within the given constraints. He added that it would look at smaller shows which can be put together in fewer locations with fewer artists, but with interesting stories. Talwar emphasised that OTT platforms have to adapt to the environment. Hence, MX Player will get into the shoot with smaller shows.

The other players also agreed that there will be a lag in long-format premium content at least for the first half of next financial year.

Arre co-founder and CEO Ajay Chacko said that the impact of the pandemic will actually be felt in the next financial year from a release perspective. He stated that six months of not being able to shoot would definitely reflect on the content line up of FY 22. While asked if shooting in international locations is a viable idea, he clearly stated that would not be an economic model.

Hungama Originals executive producer Sanjeev Lamba agreed to his peers’ views but also highlighted that it also depends on what kind of business the platform is in. According to him, the way people are getting affected is going to be different.

“We believe in mixing up shows. We don’t believe in mega, large scale forever. For us, a small set of shows have worked really well. It’s actually the mass India that is growing for us constantly and mass India loves that. For us, the shoots have already started. We will start launching two-three originals month-on-month from November itself. The idea is to reverse the track of feeling the financial pinch in the Q1 of next FY,” said ALTBalaji marketing, analytics & direct revenue SVP Divya Dixit.

Eros Now content head Puja Rajadhyaksha said that the industry and the format will evolve with the situation. She added that Eros Now will also look at doing shorter format which can be shot in the next four-five months. Talwar added that the lag in long-format content would not impact users as there is a demand for all types of content with good stories. 

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