The streaming giants of India are leaving no stones unturned to contribute to the boom of OTT industry. The data shared by the platforms clearly indicates that content is, was and will be the undisputable king!
Leading digital platforms saw an eventful year with an amazing mix of content. A look at their different shows and interaction with various heads revealed that content diversification has enabled all of them to level up their performance throughout the year.
As the second largest entertainment ecosystem across the globe, MX Player has continually and consistently brought diverse content to the platform across genres, formats, and languages. The partnership with Lionsgate has helped MX to reach out to consumers in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Maldives, giving it access to 50 plus Hollywood blockbuster films dubbed in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. Through this partnership, it bought some of the most popular and commercially acclaimed Hollywood films for its viewers in their local languages.
“The partnership also enabled us to attract new users to the platform while consolidating our existing audience base,” MX Player chief operating officer Nikhil Gandhi told Animation Xpress in a detailed email interview.
For the content diversification strategy across all five channels, QYOU Media India’s aim has been to target both the existing TV audiences and also reach out to a new audience base that consumes digital content. And thus it was important to understand the audience’s changing content preferences.
“For example, we saw that an OTT app or YouTube channel’s comedy content delivered higher views and at the same time another YouTube channel’s animation content delivered another number of high views. We closely observed this trend and have a simple aim to be an all in one entertainment destination for the audience’s viewership needs. Q Play hosts multigenre content and we have an audience base that has and enjoys a good appetite for varied flavors of content,” said QYOU Media India chief operating officer Krishna Menon.
Menon mentioned that they have seen a massive spike in comedy, animation and esports genres. With regards to comedy, they are currently experimenting with different formats within comedy like comedy drama, sketch comedy, stand ups and the response has been positive so far. There has been a high demand for animation content during the pandemic in the entertainment category and this genre has only grown stronger in the connected TV space and is one of the most popular genres. “The Q Kahaniyan is one of the most sought after channels across all our smart TV partners. It contributes to nearly 50 per cent of the monthly average viewership,” he said.
Reflecting on their commitment towards programming for a delightfully diverse India, Prime Video spokesperson said, “We clocked many firsts in the content space. Our slate includes several genres and formats, from horror to shows for young adults to intriguing docuseries. We forayed into creating long-format scripted originals in Tamil and Telugu, beginning with Suzhal – The Vortex (Tamil) that released in 30 plus Indian and international languages. We adapted the beloved global franchise Modern Love in India in two languages – Hindi and Telugu, with Tamil coming soon too.”
After releasing movies on its service post their theatrical run, and premiering almost 60 films across six languages in the past two years directly on the service, the platform also forayed into original movie production with Amazon Original Movies. Two of these – Maja Ma (Hindi) and Ammu (Telugu) premiered on the service this year. Additionally, Prime’s first theatrical co-production, Ram Setu too released in theatres this year, and is now available exclusively on Prime Video. The platform also announced new multi-year licensing deals with some of the biggest studios in the country – Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions, Ajay Degvn FFilms, Nadiadwala Grandsons Entertainment, Excel Media and Entertainment, among others.
Not just local content, it also set new benchmarks with global content. Its biggest series till date, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power had its Asia Pacific premiere in India. It was also released in five Indian languages, in addition to English.
Further expanding the selection of content available to its customers, it offered one of the most highly anticipated cricket events of the year on Prime Video – the India men’s cricket team’s tour of New Zealand. Spokesperson explained that they localised the commentary and graphics in five languages, and the commentary panel included bigwigs such as Ravi Shastri, Harsha Bhogle, Zaheer Khan, Anjum Chopra, among others.
In a blog, Netflix India revealed that Darlings enjoyed the highest opening ever for any Netflix film in India and was watched in 28 countries with total viewing hours of over 32 million. Also, Monica, O My Darling trended in the #1 spot in seven countries including India in the first two weeks of its release alone. Mismatched S2, Jamtara Sabka Number Ayega S2, and Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein were the most trending Indian series this year. On average, every Netflix film and series from India released in 2022 trended in eight countries.
It also had three of the biggest blockbusters from Netflix India – RRR (Hindi) (viewed for over 73 million hours), Gangubai Kathiawadi (viewed for over 50 million hours), and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (viewed for over 21 million hours) that found audiences around the world. At 15 weeks, RRR (Hindi) was the longest-ever trending Indian film on the global top 10 for non-English films.
With more local content attaining viewership, it has become necessary for the platforms to provide not just multi genre but also multilingual content to keep the subscriber’s base intact. This wide spectrum of content has opened avenues for new creators and it would be interesting to witness what new innovations the Indian OTT platforms are going to do to attract more audiences in 2023.