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The Content Hub 2020: Creators emphasise on importance of content quality over formats

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MUMBAI: It was an exciting morning session on the first day of the Indiantelevision.com’s fourth edition of The Content Hub 2020, hosting discussions across a wide array of content-creation topics. Some of the most successful and powerful names from the content industry shared secret recipes and insightful and incisive analyses of churning out engaging stories.  The conversations revolved around every genre of content like long-form episodic, short-format videos and digital-original movies.

The Korean connection!

The session started with an investment banker-turned-film maker from South Korea who has now expanded his creative horizon to India. In conversation with Indiantelevision.com founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief Anil Wanvari, Kross Pictures co-founder Thomas Kim stated how he started his career as an investment banker and then working in Walt Disney and Pirates of the Caribbean inspired him to become a filmmaker.

”I was working on a project where I realised that movies can be made with any kind of story. This thought stuck with me and I decided to become a filmmaker. So, I quit Disney and started my company in 2003. I am mostly active in Korea and China in making films and TV series based on famous IPs, mostly in comics and novels. In 2015 I had the pleasure to come out to India and worked on a film project called ‘Teen’ with Amitabh Bachchan. This was my first experience in Bollywood. Today I have offices in Seoul, Los Angeles, Mumbai and Hyderabad," Kim stated.

Kim believes that not all stories are able to resonate in foreign countries, except some. He is currently working on the adaptation of the Bollywood film Kahaani and finds Indian films exciting and emotional. However, he feels there is a lack of disciplined storytelling in India. That's what Kross Pictures can bring to India.

ZEE5’s content strategy relies on consumer understanding

ZEE5 programming head Aparna Acharekar said that the core values of ZEE5 are based on three Cs – compelling content, convenience and the consumer-viewing experience.

Acharekar said that the content must eventually give value for their money while increasing the viewing experience.

“Relatable content that is real and resonates with the audience is going to work,” Acharekar says. She believes that convenience is the basic reason we see the shift of audience towards over-the-top platforms.

The golden age of content

Sooni Taraporevala, an Indian screenwriter, photographer and filmmaker best known for her work in Mississippi Masala, spoke on The Golden Age of Content at the Content Hub 2020. Taraporevala also shared her experience on the making of Salam Bombay and how a rejection from National Geographic changed her fate.

Sooni Taraporevala believes it’s a golden age of content for writers and others as suddenly they are in demand. Yeh Ballet, currently on Netflix, proved to be a game-changer for her. A Harvard University student, Taraporevala came to movies both by chance and destiny. Her biggest lesson, ‘never hate the naysayers and never give up,’ made her successful and relevant in the industry.

Uncovering opportunities to create great content

The first panel discussion discussed uncovering opportunities to create great content. The panel was moderated by Bulldog Media and Entertainment co-founder and producer Akash Sharma. The panelists included: Zee Studios VP & head Ashima Avasthi, SonyLiv original content head Saugata Mukherjee, and Contiloe Pictures CEO Abhimanyu Singh.

The panel discussed the drivers of content boom, how creating great content differs between TV and digital and content strategies adopted by production houses.

Avasthi said:  "As technology grows and boundaries demolish, content boom has to happen. In our country it's fabulous to see how we have gone from television to every person watching content on mobile."

According to Singh, the number of screens has increased as well as the number of audiences, and therefore, there is more requirement for content today.

The panelists also said that there are opportunities in creating any kind of content as audiences are open to experience different genres. They also believe that the focus should be on telling the story and not on what the audience wants.

We are hungry for people who have not been discovered yet: Netflix Aashish Singh

Netflix, the streaming colossal that revolutionised the way of consuming content, is now trying to make inroads in India, said Netflix India original film director Aashish Singh, during an interaction with Indiantelevision.com founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief Anil Wanvari. Along with long-format episodic content, the streaming giant promises a slate of 15 new original films by the end of 2020.

Singh revealed the platform’s intent to work with new talent while not overlooking content quality.

Singh reemphasised that good stories can come from anywhere and can be watched everywhere.

Talking about new talents, he said the platform is working with ten new directors, nine writers, eight women directors and writers this year. “We are hungry for people who have not been discovered yet," he said. He made it clear that Netflix does not want to keep working with the same faces repeatedly.

Once a film gets the nod, Netflix will have a positive involvement, helping the filmmakers throughout the project across segments including pre-production, post-production, VFX and finance, he said.

TikTok has a comprehensive set of community guidelines: Nikhil Gandhi

TikTok has taken the Indian social media universe by storm. Although TikTok India head Nikhil Gandhi did not reveal the exact numbers, he said that the platform has witnessed massive growth in the last two years in terms of the user base in India.

He mentioned that the platform lends a lot of support for anyone with talent, which is unlikely on other platforms and provides huge discoverability too.

He also added that short-form content is being enabled with the growth in vertical video format, which, according to him, was pioneered by TikTok.

While there are a number of controversies around TikTok videos, Gandhi noted that it has a comprehensive set of community guidelines which it keeps updating every year. “We do a lot of social campaigns for creators to make them conscious about posting responsibly and be sensitive to issues relating to India,” he said.

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