Mumbai: The craft is constantly changing in OTT space. Every few months, the rules keep changing. The business players are still looking for the secret sauce. They are still trying to figure out and grapple with what kind of content works. How are the tastes of the audience changing? It's highly dynamic, and to decipher this unique situation, on the sixth edition of Indiantelevision.com's ‘The Content Hub Summit 2022,’ held in Mumbai, the media and entertainment industry experts shared their insights on the topic, "The legion of OTT content creators: Storytelling has never been on such an exciting journey."
The session had the presence of Pratilipi Studios business head Ambesh Tiwari, Sony Pictures Entertainment head - StudioNext Indranil Chakraborty, Roy Kapur Films head-originals Jinesh Shah, ZEE5 chief content officer, Hindi Originals Nimisha Pandey, Warner Bros Discovery head of original content - South Asia Sai Abishek and Juggernaut Productions (OTT) chief executive officer Samar Khan.
The panel was moderated by Bodhitree Multimedia managing director Mautik Tolia.
The summit was presented by Viacom18, and co-powered by Applause Entertainment & IN10 Media Network. Aaj Tak Connected Stream was the association partner. Industry partners were Fremantle India, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, One Take Media, Pratilipi, Pocket FM and The Viral Fever. The Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA) was our community partner.
The discussion began with an awareness of these experts' attempts to break into the mainstream content market. Is it through design that has been attempted to build a specialisation, or any secret sauce, or is it just an accident?
Khan noted that it was by design; "There is no secret sauce. The sauce is essentially that you really have to work hard and you have to go out there and find new stories because everybody will agree to the fact that it's becoming difficult to find new stories because so many shows are being made, so you have to go out there and find people and say, "Give me something that is going to be a little different from what is already there, so it's just the search for new stories that keeps me going."
When asked for the insights and secrets of some interesting products coming out like the Swami Nithyananda Show (My Daughter Joined a Cult) and Secrets Of Sinauli, the experts said that we're maturing in the non-fiction space.
Speaking in this context, Abishek commented that viewers are generally looking at consuming good content but also focusing on the storytelling to make it slightly more cinematic than people are used to generally consuming. "We're attempting to marry entertainment, which has previously been considered niche, and documentary, which has, unfortunately, not been the most popular genre. Oh, it's boring or it's too niche or things like that!"
Continuing the conversation, Pandey expressed her thoughts when asked if there are any unique elements in a show that she looks for as the secret sauce. What are the essential ingredients required to commission a show?
She mentioned there is no secret sauce available but the four main recipes that must be followed in order to stand out from the crowd are, first and foremost, a realistic real-world setting. Second, a fascinating story without any shortcuts. Third, a real character with different shades, and finally, a strong passion to create the show.
Discussing ahead with Shah, Tolia highlighted the different formats of story-telling and its dynamics. He asked Shah, What are the lessons learned and challenges encountered during the transition to the long-form format (web-series) from the movie format?
The process started from an organic place, so the challenge was different from the television writers & film writers. As an OTT writer, we took some training sessions from experienced writers, show runners, and creators from across the world to help put a process together. It is the alignment of all the cooks (writers, show runners, and creators) that helped us in making this sauce, said Shah.
Watch the complete session on the link below: