Hyderabad: Traditionally, known as the domain of entertainment-loving multitudes with a hero-worship culture, the South is seeing OTT platforms going all out to capture the market.
In addition to streaming regional language versions of Hindi and international movies and shows, major OTT players are moving aggressively for a piece of the vibrant South Indian market, says Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 India.
Speaking to IANS on the trends to look for in the year ahead, Kalra said: “In the South, we have seen good momentum and this year, ZEE5 has announced exclusive slates in Tamil and Telugu. This year, titles such as ‘Anantham’, ‘Paper Rocket’, ‘Fingertip S2’, ‘Karthikeya 2’, ‘Bimbisara’, ‘Gaalivana’, ‘Oka Chinna Family’ have become some of the most successful names for us.
“Other than that, ‘RRR’ broke multiple records and received 1,000 million streaming minutes and was trending at #1 in all four south Indian languages it launched in. We saw a significant growth in the Telugu market. From an overall business perspective, the South is one of the key markets for us as we plan to bolster our content in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.”
Kalra noted cross-industry collaborations will lead to better offerings to viewers all across. “The South market is much evolved. Consumers have a good appetite for content in local languages as well as Hindi content.
“The popularity of South Indian content in the mainstream entertainment industry has been encouraging. We have collaborated with leading content creators and talent from South and we will see more industry-wide collaboration across regions that will raise the bar for quality storytelling.”
Even as regional audiences are acquiring a taste for non-local content, OTT platforms will have to cater to local expectations too, he said.
Kalra noted: “One common factor is the huge appetite to consume varied quality content, across genres. But there is no one-size-fits-all strategy that can be applied across markets. Each market has its own tastes and preferences. Platforms, therefore, need to cater to the sensibilities of each region and their audiences.”
Looking ahead, the success for OTT platforms lies in creative collaborations across regions and languages, Kalra said.
“The popularity of South Indian content in the mainstream entertainment industry has been encouraging. We have collaborated with leading content creators and talent from South and we will see more industry-wide collaboration across regions that will raise the bar for quality storytelling,” he elaborated.
More and more experimentation will define the dynamics of OTT sector in the year ahead, Kalra said, and concluded by looking ahead.
“In 2023, we will definitely see more experimentation in a variety of areas, including pricing (ad-led, hybrid, and premium models), sampling for AVOD audiences, and content including diverse plots and storylines, various formats, and creative ways to engage with audiences,” Kalra said.