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Vidnet’22: Industry experts talk about availability of original content remain unexplored in OTT space

Experts believe that the next phase of OTT is going to be super successful.

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Mumbai: Over the top, commonly known as OTT, has come a long way in the last five years. According to a new report by independent transaction advisory firm RBSA Advisors, India's streaming market is predicted to be worth $15 billion by 2030 and out of which the video market will grow to $12.5 billion size and the audio will be $2.5 billion.

During the sixth edition, Indiantelevision.com’s pioneering Vidnet Summit held in April brought together the industry experts to deliberate views on the evolution of OTT space and how the new order will be.  

The experts such as Lyca Productions CEO Ashish Singh, Fremantle India Television Productions managing direct Aradhana Bhola, MX Player chief content office Gautam Talwa, Indian film direct and screenwriter Ken Ghosh, Eros Now head of content Puja Rajadhyaksha, Juggernaut Productions OTT president and COO Samar Khan, Ullu head-content strategy and business alliances Nivedita Basu and moderated by Bodhitree Multimedia Ltd managing direct Mautik Tolia were among the panelists present during the discussion of the topic 'The Evolution Of OTT Content: The New Order', recently held in Mumbai.

Reminiscing the initial days of OTT, Tolia highlighted how challenging it was to produce OTT content, to ensure that it reaches the right audience in the market.

“When we started our first Youtube show, it was twelve-minutes long, we were so worried if the audience would watch it, how would they deal with buffering, will they like it? and other challenges,” he said.  

Further, he also put some light on the evolution of the OTT space, he named a few shows like Mirzapur, etc., which really helped the industry become bigger.

Opening up the conversation, he asked Khan about how he's seeing the new order or second phase of OTT taking place?

Specifically, pointing out the challenges that the second phase of OTT is presently struggling with, he said, "If we look at the content required on an annual basis across the top OTT platforms- the biggest challenge is to find new stories for the next phase of OTT. If all the platforms launch just one show per month, on an average the industry would require 85-90 shows every year. But where are the stories?”

In addition, he said, “the second challenge is to find talent to tell those stories on screen.”

However, Rajadhyaksha disagreed with Khan. She said, “there’s a lot to be explored in the country.” She feels that OTT creators are not struggling with the content, there will be a surge in the regional content. She added, “As the mindset of the young Indian audiences is evolving, topics like women empowerment, cultural and inspiration stories,etc., are yet to be explored. So, finding new stories is not a challenge.”

Basu who has recently joined Ullu thinks that stories are around us all the time, creators need to present them beautifully to leave an impact. Quoting the example of stories like Gullak, Mai, she said, “We don’t really need to hunt for something new but to present what is there with all our heart.”

During the conversation, she also revealed that Ullu will launch a new Hindi GEC.

Revealing this, Basu said, “We are going to launch a new Hindi GEC in future. While I announce this news, you all may think that there’s no space for a new GEC but we see a space. We are coming up with a completely new phenomenon where audiences will get to see OTT type content on TV.”

Taking the conversation to the creators side, Tolia said, “In the initial days, there was a lot of passion to create. But now, as the OTT space is evolving, there’s a hassle to create new content within short deadlines.”

Throwing up the next question to Ken, he asked, “As the industry has taken up a speed, now directors, writers and actors are working on multiple projects at the same time. With this speed, how will enthusiasm sustain?”

Ken answered, “Yes, that's true, creators are now pacing up, working more than one project simultaneously. But to sustain, industry needs to go slow.”

“There is no need to make fake deadlines and there’s no need to run behind the stars but to invest the right amount of time in the content making process,” he said.

Taking the discussion ahead, he asked Gautam how do we not fall into the trap of just creating content without understanding the needs of the audiences? Gautam answered, “content fatigue is there. It is important to have clarity on who you’re making content for."

Tolia asked Gautam, “compared to other platforms, MX Player has been extremely prolific. How are you able to churn out the number of shows you do with the same quality?"

Gautam asserted, “We spend a good amount of time, well planned out, and give so much attention to writing.”

Singh, who has closely seen the industry evolve over the last six-seven years, thinks that OTT has changed the dynamics of the industry from revenue point of view, from production point of view and in all other spheres.

He said, “In the last few years, we have only learnt what OTT is! We are just on the tip of the iceberg, there’s a lot to explore. And in the coming years, we have a lot to create and present”.

“We are one-sixth of the population and we are yet to make our own Squid Game, Money heist and a lot more,” Singh added.

Shifting the conversation to the unscripted content on OTT, Bhola said that there’s a lot of space to grow even in the unscripted content space.

Calling herself a radical optimist, she said, “We cannot say that there are no new stories. In fact, this is the best time to create content. However, we need to focus in terms of coming up with new seasons, we need to go slow.”

Concluding her statement Bhola said, “There’s a lot of room to create content in India. We are super rich in terms of culture and we have a lot to create and show to the world.”

Watch the entire panel discussion on The Evolution Of Ott Content: The New Order by clicking on the link here:

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