Reliance investment a new ray of hope for ALT Balaji?

With proceeds from Reliance Industries’ Rs 413 crore investment in Balaji Telefilms going specially for ALT Balaji, we look at how the OTT platform has fared, where did it falter and the road ahead

e4m by Madhuwanti Saha
Published: Aug 8, 2017 8:27 AM  | 5 min read



Word in the digital industry is that Balaji Telefilms’ SVOD (subscription video-on-demand) platform ALT Balaji’s metrics haven’t picked up as well as Balaji had expected in terms of downloads and viewership numbers. Now with Reliance Industries’ decision to buy 24.92 per cent stake in the Ekta Kapoor-owned Balaji Telefilms for Rs 413.28 crore, things seem to be going in the right direction for ALT Balaji.



 It was mentioned in the BSE filing that proceeds from the transaction would be utilised to further speed up content development initiatives,  especially for ALT Balaji, ‘thereby providing it with a strong ability to compete with other OTT service providers- both global and Indian.’



Balaji Telefilms’ press release stated that post its April launch ALT Balaji has garnered over 4 million downloads across 80 countries. The digital business is negative in balance sheet due to increasing investments to scale it. Earlier Balaji Telefilms shared in a BSE filing before augmentation that it would raise Rs 150 crore from a clutch of international investors by selling 14 per cent stake in the company.



One of the sources we spoke to shared that Alt Balaji would have spent close to Rs 60-75 crore with Rs 20 crore in marketing and rest in original content production and movie acquisition. The digital streaming service was launched with eight shows followed by a few more shows later on. ALT Balaji CEO Nachiket Pantvaidya had mentioned to us earlier that Alt Balaji will be putting out 32 shows in a year, promising bold and new age content.



Most of them believe that India is not yet ready to pay for subscription, ALT Balaji’s business model.  “It will take time for people to see value. You cannot launch an app with 4-8 shows and assume people will pay for those. What’s the replacement value? How soon will you get your next shows? People need content every day,” pointed out a source.



The content on the platform also received flak and the move to put the first few episodes on YouTube (to bring in subscribers) is also speculated to backfire as the web-series didn’t have the pull factor, according to the sources in the digital space.  Most of its original series met with mixed reactions on YouTube with ‘Dev DD’ fetching maximum of 2.3 million views for its first episode on the same platform.



A founder of a digital media company who didn’t wish to be named said, “Maybe the YouTube audience didn’t like it but the content really works on the platform. Several others have tried the YouTube strategy but it doesn’t always lead to subscriber growth.”



He added, “But they are doing the same stuff what they did on TV but by adding more sexual content. You need to have young people create content for the young audience.”



Then Ekta Kapoor’s most ambitious project for ALT Balaji, ‘The Test Case' starring Nimrat Kaur, hit the wall after a delayed first episode.



Another founder of a new age media and entertainment company who chose to be anonymous pointed out that it’s too soon to jump to conclusions about their content. “Each OTT is trying to find its own niche which brings different kind of consumers. For instance, Hotstar’s focus is on TV shows and sports, Netflix has its eyes on international content and start up comedy and Voot has started focusing on kids’ space.”



It was also speculated that few shows were kept on hold till Reliance came on board. In fact two shows a Bengali web-series ‘Dhimaner Dinkaal’ and a comedy drama ‘Fourplay’ were announced days after Reliance Industries’ investment in the ALT Balaji. In fact, the Bengali series is reported to have a second season with a budget of Rs 6 lakh per episode.



Most of the people we spoke to mentioned that none of the OTT players (especially Indian) have managed to crack the code when it comes to engaging content owing to India’s diverse audience and have a bleeding balance sheet.



Nonetheless the Reliance investment has been considered to be a step in the right direction by the industry. Dinesh Vyas, Associate Associate VP (Planning), OMD, pointed out it’s a strategic investment, and said, “I think it’s in line with what Reliance Industries has planned over the years. It’s trying to invest in the content space with increased interest on OTT platform and digital spends going up. It only enhances the offer Reliance Jio has made to its customer.”



 Another producer, who didn’t wish to be named, said, “It’s a strategic investment because Reliance Industries already has a broadcast and digital arm and invested in Network18 in the past. What they were lacking was a content arm. So it synergises with their larger strategy. It’s a win-win situation for all.”



The investment also makes sense considering the similar audience profile of both Balaji Telefilms, creator of popular television shows like ‘Naagin’ and ‘Kundali Bhagya’ and Reliance Industries’ VOD app Jio Play.



We tried contacting Balaji Telefilms for their comments but we didn’t get any response.



Before Reliance Industries’ investment in Balaji Telefilms, its former CEO Sameer Nair quit after three years on July 15. 

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Integral Ad Science launches verification programme for Netflix

This will ensure that ad campaigns on Netflix are free of fraud, and are seen by actual viewers

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 22, 2023 8:37 AM   |   1 min read

Netflix

Integral Ad Science has launched Viewability and Invalid Traffic verification for Netflix. It will benefit those who have subscribed to the streaming platform's ad-supported plan.

The tool will ensure that ad campaigns on Netflix will be free of fraud, and are seen by actual viewers.  

The verification programme has gone live in 12 countries and across connected TV, computer and mobile platforms. 

This is part of Netflix’s agreement with IAS, which was announced in 2022.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Amazon Prime Video & Jio front runners in race to host HBO content?

The agreement between Warner Bros Discovery and Disney+ Hotstar is believed to have come to an end as the former asked for an exorbitant fee of Rs 80 crore per year for HBO shows, say sources

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 22, 2023 8:27 AM   |   2 min read

HBO

Ever since Disney+ Hotstar decided not to renew its licencing agreement with Warner Bros Discovery, the latter has been looking for a home for HBO content. According to sources in the industry, HBO has been in talks with several OTT platforms in India. However, Jio Cinema and Amazon Prime Video are believed to be the front runners in the race.

"Initially, the content team of HBO was in talks with several OTT platforms, including Netflix, SonyLiv, Amazon Prime Video and Jio Cinema. But it is believed that Jio Cinema and Amazon Prime Video are ahead in the race. Whoever offers the best price, will seal the deal,” said a source close to the development. 

exchange4media reached out to HBO, Amazon Prime Video and Jio Cinema for an official comment, but is yet to receive a response.

It's important to note that Warner Bros. Discovery collaborated with Amazon Prime Video last year to offer a slate of 11 popular HBO Max Original series and 10 HBO Max original features exclusively for Prime members in India.

Disney+ Hotstar announced the end of its association with HBO through a tweet last week. “Starting 31st March, HBO content will be unavailable on Disney+Hotstar. You can continue enjoying Disney+ Hotstar’s vast library of content spanning over 100,000 hours of TV shows and movies in 10 languages and coverage of major global sporting events,” it stated.

As previously reported by exchange4media, the agreement between Disney+ Hotstar and Warner Bros Discovery got over after HBO demanded a fee of Rs 80 crore per year for its shows, say sources.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

India would be a great place for an offline experience: Ryan Latham, Nothing

The Global Director - Brand and Creative of consumer tech company Nothing spoke to e4m on the brand’s design and marketing philosophy, its brick-and-mortar plans in a digital future, and more

By Shantanu David | Mar 22, 2023 8:45 AM   |   5 min read

Ryan

In a market and media-sphere where so many people so often talk about nothing, Nothing aims to start a whole new conversation. The London-based consumer technology company, backed by heavy hitters like GV (Google Ventures) and EQT Ventures, has created a tremendous amount of buzz in the industry, despite being barely two years old and having launched a soupcon of products.

With its striking minimalist visuals, unique imagery featuring exquisitely shot insects interacting with its devices, and reportedly superior performance and ergonomic capabilities, Nothing has become a focus brand for tech nerds and aesthetes alike.

With its Ear (2) set to be launched today (March 22), e4m spoke to Ryan Latham, Global Director, Brand and Creative, Nothing, during his India visit, about the brand’s design and marketing philosophy, the importance of the Indian market, and its brick-and-mortar plans in a digital future.

“It's great to be in the market to come and visit. We have this set-up where the teams from India travel to London, and we come here as well because you have to be in the market to experience it and to make sure you're tailoring your products to that consumer base,” says Latham, about his maiden India tour with Nothing.

“Besides expanding the market in Saudi Arabia, we are focusing on the Indian market. Also, we're European headquartered, so we've got key partnerships with the network operators and retailers across the UK, Germany, Spain and some of the core European markets. And we've also opened our very first store right in the heart of London's cultural scene,” he says.

Speaking about the Soho store, the company’s first brick-and-mortar store, Latham says that, somewhat paradoxically, the minimalist tech company has always wanted a physical storefront. “We also thought, as a new brand, with a technology product and a design-led product, opting for the more personalized experience helped us in standing out in the clutter of the tech market. We really believe in the community around ‘Nothing’.  Unlike other brands, we chose a small format store instead of investing on to the big Oxford Street.”

This has led the company to assume a design which is quite compact, where it can experiment and learn about how to interact with its customer base and figure out the permutations of creating a fun retail experience. It plans to open more stores in key markets. Is India one of them?

“Nothing is confirmed, nothing is fixed right now in the calendar. But in terms of our thought process, we believe that India would be a great place for an offline experience,” answers Latham, perhaps inadvertently confirming Nothing is fixed in the calendar.

Puns aside, Latham asserts that Nothing is really well positioned because it has that design aesthetic, but it's also a really excellent kind of value product as well. “You're getting a lot for your needs and for your money, from a design point of view. Also, we have a high investment in our OS. We've just launched our Android 13 and we continue to update the product on a really regular basis, having done eight updates since launch. Also, we’ve had feedback from the market and from our customers in India that they've actually found that the phone one is getting better the more they use it.”

Speaking about figuring out the bugs of the system, this conversation would mean nothing (yes, the puns write themselves) without going into the idea of using animal imagery, especially the insect kind, in its visual advertising.

Latham says, “What we're trying is to bring the product to life with some warmth and some personality. Our design ethos is about joyful interactions and designing with our instincts, not just following kind of rulebooks and lots of data. We want to design products that make us feel something. The founding idea of the insects and the animals was bringing technical warmth to the products, bringing them alive. And these insects use instincts to explore. So when you see a beetle interacting with our Ear (2) products, you see it exploring it and trying to find out what it is using its very basic instinct.”

“And we use different characters for different products because they have different, maybe different meanings. With the current product that we're launching, the animal in the creative is an ox beetle. And this ox beetle is a very small, very powerful, and very technical creature; if you look at it, it looks very engineered, very purposeful,” he says.

“And with the Ear (2), the engineering teams have spent a lot of time making the product more compact, but also increasing the performance massively. So, we've got this very small, very strong, very powerful product. And the animal that's interacting with it in some ways mirrors it,” he adds, concluding, “Also, let's not be too pretentious about it, it's also just super fun: a very fun way to demonstrate, to show off the product.”

It’s nothing, really.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Surinder Films acquires Bengali OTT platform Addatimes

The first web series after acquisition to be streamed on Addatimes will be Amriter Sandhane - The Banaras Chapter

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 3:45 PM   |   2 min read

ott

Kolkata headquartered film production company, Surinder Films, has acquired Addatimes, the first Bengali on-demand OTT Platform of the country

“We have been in the business of Bengali film production, distribution and content creation for both regional & national channels. In today’s context we found that the OTT Platforms have immense growth potential and it is the right time to invest on it. Thus, we decided to acquire Addatimes, the first Bengali and one of the well-known OTT platforms. Here, we would be creating, as well as acquiring content of varied genres keeping in mind the audience interest. We already have an interesting line up of big-ticket Bengali Movies & a host of Web Series’ which we would start streaming soon. We look forward to a creatively exciting journey ahead”, said Nispal Singh, Director, Surinder Films Pvt Ltd.

The first web series after acquisition to be streamed on Addatimes will be Amriter Sandhane - The Banaras Chapter, from14th April, 2023, celebrating the occasion of Poila Boishak (Bengali New Year). This 8-episode series is a mythological thriller set in the holy city of Varanasi. The star cast of Amriter Sandhane - The Banaras Chapter includes Chandan Roy Sanyal, Sauraseni Maitra & Debasish Mondal amongst others and it is directed by Abhinandan Dutta. Following this there will be a rib-tickling series, Gentlemen, starring Joy Sengupta, Mir Afsar Ali, Rudranil Ghosh & Madhurima Basak in the lead, which is directed by Korak Murmu. Gentlemen will be steaming from May, 2023.

 

This apart, Addatimes would also digitally premiere some mega feature films like Kaberi Antardhan (on 26th March, 2023) followed by Mitin Mashi, SagardwipeyJawker Dhan & Magic and many more in the coming months. New films like Love Marriage, Bhootpori, Ardhangini, Paakhi, Tarakar Mrityu & Tenida will be digitally premiered in Addatimes post their theatrical releases.

 

“We plan to release between 15 -18 original contents a year, to begin with. As far as the films are concerned, there will be more than one release per month," added Singh.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Class has no ‘class’

Guest Column: Markand Adhikari, Chairman & MD of SABGROUP, writes that the new trend of nudity and obscenity in OTT is harming society and putting freedom of expression in danger

By Markand Adhikari | Mar 21, 2023 2:30 PM   |   4 min read

Markand Adhikari

Today, I wished to share something with the readers about a new trend in the media/entertainment sector, but let me first confess I feel ashamed and embarrassed to write this as I also come from this fraternity. The trend I am referring to is the kind of content that has excessive vulgarity, nudity and obscenity.

When some of my friends told me about this, I was not ready to believe that the content dished out on a platform, for public consumption, could have fallen to this level. But they insisted and urged me to raise my voice against it. So, I decided to check it out myself. I came across a web series titled ‘Class’ and another called ‘Rana Naidu’, both on a premium OTT platform. I mustered enough willpower but I am sorry to report that I could not watch more than two episodes of each of them.

On TV and the big screen, the content is meant for entertainment. This content did not entertain me; it shocked me, it disturbed me.

When people complain of such excesses, some makers argue that they are merely showing a mirror to society. I beg to differ. What is shown in ‘Class’ and ‘Rana Naidu’ is not the true picture of our culture and society. Is each and every student of an elite school in big cities a drug addict? Is every boy or girl in such high-profile schools indulging in pervert sexual acts? If that were the case, I am sure at least some of the parents would have raised their voices and stopped sending their children to such schools. But that is not the case.

What such content does is not reflect social reality but actually the opposite – instigate our youth and society to go down this path by giving them ideas. Do we want today’s youth to take that path and create a generation of drug peddlers, sex maniacs and criminals? Or do we want to see them as doctors, administrators, scientists, thinkers and leaders of the future?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating strict censorship. I believe I am very liberal-minded and have been a strong advocate of the freedom of expression. But crossing the limits of what can be said and what can be shown on the screen is a shameless and blatant violation of the Freedom of Expression. The premium platform where ‘Class’ and ‘Rana Naidu’ is streaming is abusing the right to free expression.

Let us agree that nudity, vulgarity and obscenity cannot be sold in the name of fundamental rights. If you think so, then why stop at ‘Class’ and ban outright pornography? That too should be ok. If so, is it the case that some porn producers and peddlers have been prosecuted because their platform is not as big?

Let me reiterate that the issue here is nudity and not fundamental rights. Those who defend this vulgarity in the name of rights are actually destroying our social fabric and harming our culture. Selling obscene content in the name of freedom of expression is actually putting this freedom and this right in danger. They are forcing the authorities to consider censorship of OTT content. Then, we as an industry will have no argument against the government. In other words, these “advocates” of freedom of expression will be responsible for the censorship of OTT content, and we will be responsible for digging our own graves.

Alarm bells are ringing. I strongly believe we should wake up and put a stop to this trend. Enough is indeed enough.

Markand Adhikari is Chairman and Managing Director of SAB Network.

(The views expressed here are solely those of the authors and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com)

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

NCLAT reserves judgment in Google case

The tribunal has been hearing this case since February 15

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 11:43 AM   |   1 min read

google

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has reserved its judgment in the Google versus CCI case, say media reports.

The appellate body has been hearing this case since February 15.

Last week, the CCI informed NCLAT that the tech major was not a 'dominant' but 'super dominant' undertaking.

 

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Hoop Entertainment signs multi-show deal with Audible

Hoop Entertainment will produce 70 hours of original, multi-character, audio series content that will be exclusively distributed on Audible

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 11:32 AM   |   1 min read

Hoop

Audible, a creator and provider of premium audio storytelling, has signed an exclusive deal for 10-audio dramas with Nikhil Mirchandani’s Hoop Entertainment.

Hoop Entertainment will produce 70 hours of original, multi-character, audio series content, across mythology, drama, history, true crime and horror genres, creating a “theatre of the mind” experience that will be exclusively distributed on Audible.

The 10 new shows produced by Hoop will be available free for all listeners, exclusively on Audible.

Shailesh Sawlani, VP and Country Manager for India at Audible, said, "We are incredibly excited to collaborate with Hoop Entertainment to bring captivating content to all listeners for free on Audible. We are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to provide our listeners with best-in-class content, and Hoop Entertainment's expertise in producing audio dramas across a variety of genres perfectly aligns with our vision. We are confident our shared passion for storytelling will help us to continue to deliver an immersive experience for our listeners."

Nikhil Mirchandani, Founder, Hoop Entertainment, said, “We're thrilled at the opportunity to produce a multitude of audio series across genres for Audible. The stories, narrative, performances, and sound design will create a ‘theatre-of-the-mind’ experience. Audio is the next entertainment frontier, and our audiences are ready for complex storytelling and personalized audio experiences. We thank Audible for trusting & enabling us to explore this medium to the fullest.”

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube