An authored article by Divya Dixit, Business Strategy & Growth Advisor
RRR seems to be the mantra of the entertainment world in India. From winning Oscars to being the backbone of OTT in India, the abbreviation certainly captures the spirit of the entertainment sector. The essence of the OTT world in particular seems to revolve around the three magic R’s; Reality, Representation and Regional.
Why are reality shows engaging; The promise of unscripted, real and raw reactions from people that viewers can relate or sometimes, not relate to make for excellent stress relievers and entertainment packages. These shows can be part scripted and shot prior like “The Comicstan” or stream live like ALTBalaji’s “Lockupp” with a multi camera setup. Formats like business reality shows, Shark Tank has seen viewership numbers of 4.5-5 million and about 85,000 pitches from 168 different parts of the country for second season making it a clear audience winner. Since these shows incite conversations across globe all it needs is focused seeded content, unique marketing efforts and tieups. Perfect examples in this case would be Big Boss series where audience tends to pick their favorites and root for them via votes or digital gifts that also opens up another revenue stream for the platform. Gamification of these reality shows is another winner for the platform and the partner like KBC on Sony and gamification partner Jio. Also these shows attract male skew of audience and net a much wider reach for the platform resulting in premium ad spends by brands on the platform. Today reality shows are the contributor to some of the highest percentage of viewership, making up for almost 23% of the total viewership.
One certain way to ensure audience engagement in a particular market is to ensure market representation via characters in the show. A person based in the US is highly unlikely to identify with a Malaysian character and vice versa. The OTT players seem to have understood this clearly and have aimed tirelessly to ensure that their show with a particular flavour has a character that audience can share some resemblance with in terms of behavior, culture or lifestyle for example Raj in “Big Bang Theory” or “Citadel” starring Priyanka Chopra a global product on Amazon Prime. Its simple that representation Of Indian Characters in a Hollywood series or movie will garner better acceptance and viewership therefore revenue in the Indian market or Indians across globe.
As regional internet penetration in India grows at 50% over time, the importance of local flavour to drive loyalty is becoming apparent. An audience trend game that now even Apple tv wishes to participate in and Netflix and Amazon started a year and half ago on a war footing. As smaller regional players launch and grow across India right from aha, hoichoi, chaupaal, oho gujarati and stage staking regional global audience over and above the Indian diaspora. Some of them intend to now capture global markets via creating regional content with global actors (Indian Origin). Others plan to blend Indian regional languages with English to rope in the next lot of the audience. According to EY, regional content went from 27% of titles produced to 2020 to 46% in 2021—total of 177 non-Hindi titles mainly in Bengali, Tamil & Telugu.