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OTT platforms thrive during pandemic; provide growth opportunities for regional talent

Mohit Kaushal | Updated on: Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 10:40 AM IST

By the year 2025, the share of regional language consumption on OTT platforms is expected to cross 50 per cent of total time spent, easing past Hindi at 45 per cent, as perFICCI-PwC’s study/Representative image | Pixabay
By the year 2025, the share of regional language consumption on OTT platforms is expected to cross 50 per cent of total time spent, easing past Hindi at 45 per cent, as perFICCI-PwC’s study/Representative image | Pixabay
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As opposed to how most of the industries experienced hardship in their survival - be it travel and tourism, hospitality or automobile - due to the outbreak of COVID-19; the media and entertainment industry, specifically OTT, was one such that was thriving.

Owing to several pandemic-induced restrictions, including the closing down of cineplexes and movie theatres, 2020 turned out to be the year of OTT entertainment. It, certainly, changed the manner in which people consumed media. Cooped up in their homes, people all across the world turned to digital screens simply to seek entertainment.

According to a recent report by PwC, India is the world’s fastest-growing market for streaming platforms. By 2024, it is anticipated to become the sixth-largest market with an annual growth rate of 28.6 per cent. It can be said that the ever-growing market and consumer appetite for the content of choice easily available on streaming platforms fueled this spurt. Right from the choice of content, ease of access, to choice of device or mediums and liberal censorship policy, OTTs offer a never before consumer experience.

The rise in regional content

The digital streaming audience gradually expanding beyond millennials and metro cities, as well as the rise in internet penetration, is leading to a massive opportunity for regional language content, too, on OTTs. The regional streaming apps are catering to non-Hindi and non-English markets. It appears that the next big wave of growth in the OTT landscape will be from Tier I and Tier II cities and the vernacular language-speaking populace.

By the year 2025, the share of regional language consumption on OTT platforms is expected to cross 50 per cent of total time spent, easing past Hindi at 45 per cent, as perFICCI-PwC’s study. Regional seems to be the new global as there are no language barriers. Moreover, the stories are no more dictated by “stars” but are purely content-driven. Similar to how there is a rage of shows like ‘Squid Game’ (Korean) and ‘Money Heist’ (Spanish) in India, people have been all praise for series like ‘The White Tiger’ and ‘Made in Heaven’ in the international market.

The growing opportunities for regional talent

Owing to the surge in regional content, the demand for regional actors is also increasing. The regional OTT players are providing a platform to creators as well as to talents, who may not find a voice on mainstream services. Lately, OTTs have become an emerging platform for several regional actors to court the pan-India limelight. For instance, actor Pratik Gandhi, who predominantly works in Gujarati theatre and cinema, rose to prominence with his performance in the web series ‘Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story’; Jisshu Sengupta, an established name in Bangla cinema who has done a few of the prominent Hindi films as well, including Barfi, Piku and Manikarnika; Samantha Akkineni, a popular face of South Indian films who is married to Telugu superstar Naga Chaitanya, made his debut in ‘The Family Man’ starring Manoj Bajpayee; and many more.

Regional OTT platforms have emerged to be a game-changer for actors like them who have got opportunities to foray into their regional cinema along with the mainstream cinema. They are now getting their dues. It is, indeed, the best time for regional actors to be around. However, amid the growth opportunities, the need of the hour is a talent sourcing platform.

The need for a platform to ease regional talent sourcing

One of the factors that can stimulate opportunities for artists in the media and entertainment industry is the requirement of a platform that could not only help in showcasing talent but would also ensure that talent sourcing becomes easy. Such entities could help in effectively bridging the demand-supply gap in the market. Having an interactive digital space showcasing newcomers’ artistic abilities and helping them securing the relevant career prospects has emerged to be the dire need of the hour amid the rising regional OTT industry.

The bottom line

New entrants often have to knock on numerous doors before getting their real ‘break’ in the media and entertainment industry. With positive growth in the OTT platform witnessed during the pandemic phase, newcomers must make the most of the opportunities. Looking for such platforms that help new artists in showcasing their skills and interacting with people sharing the same passion could be a good start for the newcomers aiming to debut into the media and entertainment industry.

(Mohit Kaushal, Founder and CEO, YouForrte-Freemium platform that bridges gap between Job/assignment seekers in Media & Entertainment Sector)

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Published on: Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 10:40 AM IST