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Top TV producers weigh in on OTT challenge, formats & IP rights

The future belongs to scripted shows.

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MUMBAI: Content creators today cannot rely on daily soaps to attract viewers. With OTT looming large, production houses have to broaden their content nexus. Indiantelevision.com’s The Content Hub hosted a session – ‘The TV production Story: Reality, Non-fiction’, with the panellists Contiloe Pictures producer and founder Abhimanyu Singh, Endemol Shine CEO Abhishek Rege, SOL India - Banijay Group founder and MD Fazila Allana. The session was moderated by Bodhitree Multimedia co-founder and director Mautik Tolia

The panel discussed the hot topic of IP rights, whether it should be given to the broadcaster or kept with the creator. To this, Singh said that it is valuable for every production house to hold its IP rights, where one can syndicate and get certain revenues on a recurring basis. "If the ecosystem thinks of it then I think the law needs to protect creators just as the musicians are protected," he said and Allana agreed with him.

Rege said that retaining IPs means financial risks for the producer. He further explained, "If we have commissioned a show in Hindi, why would you have the IP of all the languages go with the network? But while we think all this to happen, are we ready to take all the risk?”

Discussion on the potential of content, Rege said that scripted shows are platform-agnostic. He said that the challenge here is making attractive content for the viewers and targeting the right TG. "With OTT, I don’t think it’s easy to do as many talents shows that we do on linear," he added.

The new tariff order will bring about a change in content creation, according to Rege. With customers choosing individual channels, broadcasters need unique content to attract people. “This fight is based on non-scripted or premium scripted property," he said.  

Allana said that non-fiction producers have a bigger challenge as opposed to fiction producers because there has been a saturation of ideas. But she added that non-fiction content is going to evolve in the OTT platform but the future belongs to scripted shows. “On OTT there will be a lot of social experimentation as well as lifestyle programming.  Earlier we all used to chase formats now we chase stories,” she said.

The deluge of daily content has thwarted premium content from growing. Rege said, "In creating premium content, you will have to spend time in writing. Apart from that, as far as production is concerned, you will have to have the discipline of pre-producing the series and this doesn’t exist on our television. The whole ecosystem needs to move in this direction." 

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