We have been thinking of taking Sarkarnama to OTT platforms: Abhijit Sarkar
Media veteran Sarkar talks about the idea behind launching content platform Sarkarnama and his long term vision for it
In this age of information overload, finding good and relevant content has become a task. With the rising cases of fake news and misinformation being spread, media veteran Abhijit Sarkar has launched his own content platform, Sarkarnama. This long storytelling format, which is video first, aims to address issues ranging from art to social cause.
In an interview with exchnage4media, Sarkar spoke about the need for creating such platforms and his long term vision for Sarkarnama.
What was the inspiration behind launching Sarkarnama?
I have been associated with theatre, radio, and television since my college days. I have been a TV anchor, a radio jockey and a quizzer. But due to my professional commitment in the corporate and sports sectors, I was not getting time to do something which was very close to my heart. The idea and the urge was there which kept pushing me every now and then. So in 2017, I finally decided to take the plunge. We initially began with a couple of animations, but then we changed gears to a longer format of storytelling which started getting good response.
Why did you choose to be digital-only, given the noise and clutter that surround the medium?
Precisely because of the noise and clutter in the digital platforms, we decided to come up with something that was unique and positive. I was abhorred with the negativity, nudity and fake content on digital platforms. So I thought that this was the area where people would appreciate and encourage original and positive content. Therefore, we came up with a song and narrative episode through which we are able to convey our message in a more entertaining way. Apart from that, we focused on lots of trivia and research by which we were able to give something new to our viewers each time.
How has the response been so far?
Appreciation has started to pour in finally, though it was slightly sluggish in the beginning. People started taking notice of our uniqueness gradually. And now we get feedbacks from the viewers on what they would like to see in the next episode of ‘Sarkarnama by Abhijit Sarkar’. They are critical too but in a positive way. The expectation have grown and we have to better our performance each time. We can very well say that the journey has truly begun now.
What are the three big challenges facing content creators today?
The biggest issue for any content creator is funds. Without proper funds you won't be in a position to deliver quality products. I have been fortunate to have friends who do not charge a bomb from me. They keep sending suggestions on how to better the episode. This helps me in finalising the script and also the production part.
The other big challenge is content. You have to be very clear and particular about your content. Frivolous content can give you a jump start but won't take you far. It has to be something in-depth and long-lasting for you to be a marathoner. Here my college days experience comes to my rescue.
Will Sarkarnama be only a digital entity, are you planning to take it to traditional media formats too?
A few news channels have played some of my episodes. It was they who approached me for a permission to use some of our episodes. Since we believe in high production value, our episodes are of broadcast quality. Apart from that we have been musing on the idea of taking this to the OTT platforms. If we are approached by any of the OTT platforms, we would be happy to share our product.
I can see around 26 different subjects being addressed so far in your videos, will it be right to call Sarkarnama a platform for knowledge sharing and raising awareness?
My primary aim is to give good and original content in whatever subject we choose. A lot of thought had gone in all the subjects we chose. We initially took those issues that were already on the digital platforms. Then we did in-depth research, delved into trivia and used original songs to treat them differently (for occasions such as Durga Puja, Independence Day, Friendship, Valentine's day, Holi) Secondly, we did fresh episodes on relationships. These were subjects that were close to the society (husband-wife relationship, art of love, show off, laughter etc). We also tried to experiment with most of the genres of music. Original lyrics and composition were used to enhance our style of unique storytelling.
How do you see the content consumption trends shaping up in India in the next two years?
Roughly, we can divide the content consumption in two parts--political and non-political. In the last five years, most of the content consumption has been in the political area, but now, fatigue is gradually setting in. This is because the political content are mostly repetitive and monotonous. As a result, people have started looking for fresh content. So in the next five years, we will see better content that is innovative and targeted in the approach. I also see a revival of classical content in Hindi and regional languages.
Finally, what is your vision for Sarkarnama for the next five years?
We have already started a mixture of long and short episodes. Gradually, we do have a plan to do more episodes on human relationship and issues concerning our society. But the treatment would be unique. We shall be using more folk music and folk theatre. This is because we also plan to revive those art forms that are either extinct or are on the verge of dying. We might also experiment with docu dramas. Let's see how it shapes. We have been in the habit of reinventing ourselves as we progress.
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