ShemarooMe is for fans who are unabashedly Indian: Hiren Gada, Shemaroo Entertainment
Gada, CEO of Shemaroo Entertainment talks about how ShemarooMe will set itself apart from the rest of the OTT content & his plans to pool in brands
Published - 18-February-2019
The launch of the new OTT platform ‘ShemarooMe’ is a salute to the spirit of the ‘Asli Bollywood Fan’, as the content powerhouse would like to call it.
In a chat with exchange4media, Shemaroo CEO Hiren Gada will cater to the audience who don’t find the kind of content they want to view on OTT platforms. He also shared his big plans for Shemaroo’s new baby ShemarooMe.
What is the objective behind starting ShemarooMe?
According to a Google-KPMG 2017 report, 75 per cent of India’s internet user base will consist of internet users from Indian regional languages by 2021. The number of smartphone users in the country is also expected to cross 440 million by 2022. And India is a heterogeneous market, so it is unlikely that everyone will have similar taste. The OTT market is still new and it has scope for multiple service providers. With ShemarooMe we will cater to the crowd that is already on OTT but still on the lookout for something. There are larger players in the OTT market but then there is the scope to bring in a lot of new content segment and that is exactly what we want to do.
While we understand that OTT is only a new proposition in the Indian content market, we already have a lot of options on the table. How is ShemarooMe planning to set itself apart from the rest?
No matter how much we love Pizza and Pasta we love to come back to our staple daal roti at the end of the day. ShemarooMe is for all those fans who are unabashedly Indian. We are doing everything we can for the real fan of masala Indian entertainment and that is our unique selling proposition. At the end of the day, the viewers are our patrons and we want to keep them in the centre for everything. ShemarooMe aims to put the viewer in a familiar territory and serve them what they want. This touch of personalisation is what we are hoping will set us apart.
Tell us a little about the content line-up.
We have six broad categories: Bollywood classics and contemporary Bollywood, and the Gujarati segment that include telefilms and theatre. We also have other categories for Punjabi, Devotional and Kids content.
We have a library of 2,000 feature films half of which is already up and the rest will be up soon.
At a time when OTT platforms are boasting about the kind of original content they are producing, you are keeping your hands of it. Why is that?
We have not ruled that out totally. We might come up with it in our second phase. We are open to feedback from consumers. Whatever they ask for will be incorporated as and when we get older and have a better hang of our audience.
But we do have our version of created content. We created two shows called ‘Cinema ka Safar’ and ‘Pehli Baar’. ‘Cinema ka Safar’, anchored by Renuka Shahane, is a 22-episode ensemble of the history of Bollywood. ‘Pehli Baar’, on the other hand, is a 100-episode format that will put together all the firsts in the industry. Such unique content point is also one of our USPs.
Are you looking at any brand partnerships?
We are just starting out, but going forward the plan is to launch ShemarooMe in the US market in the first quarter of FY20. We will be expanding our OTT distribution through strategic partnerships, to offer exciting content across multiple platforms catering to the target audience. So we definitely plan to pool in brands for partnerships and associations.
You have a subscription-based model. Do you plan to get into the ad-based model too?
Consumers have the option to buy individual packs or the all-access pack of ShemarooMe. The introductory pricing for individual category plans is Rs 49 per month or Rs 499 annually. The all-access plan costs Rs 99 a month or Rs 999 for a year.
In our second phase we do plan to introduce an ad-driven category. But as of now we are primarily a subscription based model platform.