‘Vernacular content is the future of OTT’

Amogh Dusad, Head Content, Partnerships and New Initiatives, Digital, Sony Pictures Networks India, and Sameer Saxena, Chief Content Officer and Head, TVF Originals say OTT is exploding at the moment

Sony TVF

The OTT space is expanding rapidly and there is scope for all players to grow together, said Amogh Dusad, Head Content, Partnerships and New Initiatives, Digital, Sony Pictures Networks India, and Sameer Saxena, Chief Content Officer and Head of TVF Originals at The Viral Fever. 

They spoke to exchange4media at the launch of ‘Tripling Season 2’, the celebrated web series by The Viral Fever - TVF originals. 

Asked about the growth of vernacular content on OTT, both Saxena and Dusad said that there will be growth on that front.

Saxena said vernacular is indeed a huge market, though TVF is yet to tap that area. It is the future where immense success and opportunities could be seen for content creators, he said. 

Saxena further said that content is extremely important for the digital platform. “It is exploding. Earlier, there were limited opportunities with only just films and television. But, now the avenues have been thrown open with OTT platforms coming in and gradually ruling the market,” he added.

Saxena, the man behind TVF, said: “TVF is all set to introduce many more distinguished genres for their audiences. We, being leaders, are only going to grow.”

Meanwhile, Dusad spoke about the innovation and experimentation in OTT.

Edited excerpts of interview with Dusad: 

How fierce is the competition among OTT platforms in terms of staying on top?
There is a lot of activity happening in the category. According to a FICCI report, about 1,200 to 1,400 hours of original content are being created for OTT today. I really don’t think it’s competition as the market is expanding at such a fast pace. There are 350 million people who are on online videos. That number is growing by almost 30 to 35 per cent. 
There is a space for everyone to grow. A lot of experiment and innovation is happening in terms of people presenting their stories, subjects they are choosing and the format they want to show the stories in, 40 or 50 minutes content. That’s the exciting part. By far, we see it as actually not the competition but more as an opportunity to get on board more creative and good content. 

While the English content seems to have been selling, will the Hindi content too create a stir  globally in terms of presenting short stories or web series.

Presenting or focusing on English-driven content is not the direction where the online video market is focusing. What I see is a reverse trend rather. We have observed that more than English language content, it is the Hindi generated one which is happening. There is in fact more regional content on OTT now. The trend is moving towards Hindi or vernacular than English. 

What are the growth or success prospects when it comes to generating women-centric content? Would it help garner more women viewership on the OTT platforms?
With regards to women viewership, the content on Sony Liv has seen a lot of growth in viewership. In terms of content, we had done a couple of series in the past called ‘Married Women Diaries’. The series was a fun take on marriage issues and a peek into the lives of married women. I think we will continue to evaluate concepts which cater to both men and women. Nonetheless, it’s a growing need gap. Probably two to three years ago, it wasn’t there but now we can see a considerable change. 

How true are the rumours that cable operators may collaborate with OTT platforms in order to get viewership?
It’s not true as per my knowledge. I haven’t heard anything about such collaborations. However, what is happening in the market right now is the implementation of the MRP regime. It’s a big change which is affecting the users as well as the entire chain. 

In terms of marketing and further cementing Sony Liv’s position in the market, what can viewers expect?
We have big ambitions this year and are looking at more creative content, offering lot of different genres to our consumers, collaborating with various creative heads and most importantly foraging into sports. Also, a lot of partnership can be seen in the future with companies like TVF and series like ‘Tripling’. There is lot in the pipeline for the viewers.”

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