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Content Hub 2021 : Insatiable demand opens up vast opportunities for content creators

Urgent need for production companies to nurture fresh talent to meet growing demand

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New Delhi: The pandemic may have stalled theatrical releases of big budget movies, but people will throng cinema halls once the pandemic situation eases out, opined leading film, TV and OTT producers as they gathered to discuss the entertainment industry’s evolution at the fifth edition of the Content Hub 2021.

The three-day mega event being organised by Indiantelevision.com began on Wednesday with a virtual panel discussion on ‘The challenges & opportunities before India’s content creators’.

The panel consisting of Endemol Shine India, CEO, Abhishek Rege, Contiloe Pictures, chairman-MD, Abhimanyu Singh, Emmay Entertainment, director and screenwriter, film producer Nikkhil Advani and film director, writer-producer, Siddharth P Malhotra engaged in a detailed conversation with Indiantelevision.com Group, CEO and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari.

According to Emmay Entertainment, co-producer, Nikkhil Advani, who recently collaborated with Disney+ Hotstar for his latest web-series – ‘The Empire’, Indians consume content differently from other countries.

“So, even if lockdown has helped build an OTT audience for films, the theatrical business will resume in full swing, once the pandemic situation eases out,” the filmmaker exuded confidence. “People will rush to theatres whenever they open, because they cannot continue sitting in their homes. Going to malls, cinema halls is what a typical weekend looks like for most Indians.”

As people remained confined to their homes for most part of the year, they turned to TV and OTT platforms for entertainment. The demand for content skyrocketed, and it opened a vast array of opportunities for content creators to tell stories across platforms, the panelists highlighted.

“There were challenges no doubt. But, in terms of content and production, the last year has been one of the best years for our company. We got the green light for several projects,” added Advani.

Director-producer Siddharth P Malhotra agreed, citing the recent box-office success of Tamil movie Master, starring South Indian actor Thalapathy Vijay. According to the panelists, despite the rise of OTT, the star-phenomenon will continue driving audiences’ interest in movies.

“The star system is here to stay. A star can have several flops at the box-office, but he/she will remain a star, because they command that money at the box-office. It’s just that, now we will have that system in OTT as well. Stars and directors are quoting huge prices, and OTT platforms are willing to pay, because that’s what the script demands,” said Malhotra.

However, it is the script which has emerged as the real hero, asserted Contiloe Pictures chairman-MD, Abhimanyu Singh, who recently produced the second season of popular web-series, the State of Siege: Temple Attack.

“There was a tremendous amount of uncertainty last year. But, we have pretty much adapted to the changes. We are now moving into a new regime of production, where the main challenge is to figure out how to fulfil this huge demand for content,” said Singh, “There is a large audience, which is still not happy with the kind of TV shows or films being made. This is the audience that OTT needs to serve.”

But what are the factors which determine which story is good for OTT or Television or theatres, Wanvari asked the panelists.

“Script is the real hero now,” contended Endemol Shine India, CEO, Abhishek Rege. “We are content creators. No matter which format we choose, it is important that the content is of high quality and is received well by the audiences. Our focus is on getting more stories, and it is the story which decides which format it is best suited for, depending on the budget and audience perspective.”

The panelists also echoed concerns over the dearth of talent, both on-screen and off-screen, which has emerged as a serious challenge during the last few years. “We have abundant talent in the country. The need is to nurture it. That’s why it’s time that production companies create an ecosystem within their set-ups to train new talent,” said director-producer Siddharth P Malhotra.

With the business dynamics undergoing a change, and new financial models coming up, the panelists also believe that the subscription model is here to stay, and people will prefer to pay if they want high-quality content. 

The fifth edition of Content Hub 2021- ‘TV, Film, Digital Video, and Beyond’ is being organised by Indiantelevision.com from 28-30 July, 2021. The three-day summit is co-presented by IN10 Media Network and ZEE5, and co-powered by Applause Entertainment and Tipping Point, the digital content unit of Viacom18 Studios. PTC Network is the supporting partner.

Centred on the theme – ‘The New Dynamic’, the three-day event will witness insightful sessions with industry stakeholders deliberating on how the new forces are transforming the way content is created and stories are told. It will also delve upon the impact of these changes on the business models for the world of films, TV and OTT.

For more details, visit: https://www.thecontenthub.in/

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