Yoodlee Films to launch first web-series by mid next year

Siddharth Anand Kumar, VP, TV & Films, Saregama and Yoodlee Films, spoke about the launch of their first web-series and plans to foray into the events space

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Dec 2, 2019 9:50 AM
Siddharth Anand Kumar Yoodlee Films

Launched in 2017, Yoodlee Films is the film division of one of India's oldest music label-Saregama India. The film division of Saregama India released its first film 'Ajji' in 2017 which is available on Netflix. Since then, Yoodlee Films has produced around 15 films in less than three years time across different languages. The films are available on Netflix and Hotstar.

Yoodlee Films is also planning to launch their first web-series which is slated to launch next year. Siddharth Anand Kumar, VP, TV and Films, Saregama and Yoodlee Films, shared with exchange4media, that Yoodlee is soon going to be in events space as well. “We have very exciting plans in the event space by April next year. It will be a part of Yoodlee Films. We are just taking what we have learned in terms of creating content and creating stories and trying to move it into events.”

He further shared that the platform will soon launch its first web-series by next year. “We just started a web series division, little less than a year ago. We have several pictures that are going and I think by mid next year, our first web series will start coming out. We are working for OTT platforms and doing quite a lot of work with platforms because that's where a lot of money comes today. But we are also busy developing films that will be theatrical.”

Telling us more about Yoodlee Films' three-year journey, Kumar mentioned that they have been growing every year, not just in terms of the kinds of films they make but the budgets have also been going up. We started with a very obscure film called 'Ajji', put up a couple of films up on Netflix as originals. Today we are the only studio with two platforms taking original films from us, which means they're not licensing up to us but they're sort of taking them out. We have Hotstar and Netflix, hopefully, very soon, we'll announce a third platform that is taking originals from us. We've been evolving with slow and steady steps to become a bigger content studio. We're also now trying to do films with slightly bigger stars and more recognisable faces.”

Speaking about the kind of content Yoodlee Films is going to focus on and what they have learnt working with the digital platforms, Kumar shared, “To quote, the cliche, good content is the focus but what is good content? Obviously, it's our job to define that and continually evolve it. The first thing is that we have to think like a consumer and we're also consumers of digital media. The first thing that we learn is that films need to belong to the genre. Making a film which doesn't have a clear genre is tough to get seen on a platform because there's so much content available and even the platform might not know how to categorise it. The second thing we learn is again, linked to consumer behaviour. They like to see recognisable faces, There's a certain comfort that they get to the familiar face. Consumers are more likely to click on the film with familiar faces. Hence, casting becomes very important in order to get a good cast.”

Another important thing is the way the story is designed, so as far as the script is concerned, the story should be about a particular person who has a very clearly stated aim, and how he or she works to accomplish that aim over the course of the film. “The third learning is it needs to be collaborative, meanwhile the audience is constantly in search for something new, which they haven't heard. Along the way, we've also learned even better, how to control our budgets, how to spend so that the films look bigger, but not spend on unnecessary things, how to crunch our timeline,” said Kumar.

At Yoodlee Films, IPs of all the films remain with the studio. The films are not commissioned by OTT platforms. The studio will talk to various platforms and pitch them a script if they seem interested in the script, Yoodlee films will come to the platform first. “We have to understand that Saregama has been an IP company. So there's very little point for us to make a film and keep giving away the IP because that means that you basically just stand on margin kind of business. So IP remaining with us at the core of our strategy, which is why we're not really taking money to make the film, we are making the film and then giving it to the platform for a license period. That license might be an exclusive license so it can be available anywhere else or it can be a non-exclusive license.”

The studios’ films are also available on other platforms outside India, for instance, the film 'Hamid' is available on Channel Four in the UK.

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