A still from Amazon Prime Video’s series, Paatal Lok which dropped recently
A still from Amazon Prime Video’s series, Paatal Lok which dropped recently

Lockdown effect: OTT platforms go into overdrive

The various OTT platforms are going into overdrive with some major reshuffling of their schedule and content as well as driving viewer engagement
Hindustan Times | By Juhi Chakraborty
UPDATED ON MAY 30, 2020 02:27 PM IST

The OTT platforms are now the only up and running entertainment medium in the country owing to the lockdown. But they are not taking this monopoly for granted and rather are going into overdrive with some major reshuffling of their schedule and content as well as driving viewer engagement.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker debuted on May 4 in India, two months on Disney+ Hotstar, which is proof that the roster of the streaming platforms are undergoing a major reshuffling keeping in consideration of the current shooting delays. 

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Siddhartha Roy, COO, Hungama Digital Media shares that their intention has been to launch a new original show every 4 to 6 weeks and they are continuing to do so even now. “We launched Kashmakash, an anthology about modern day crimes in India just as the country started practising social distancing. Our next show, Comedycha Raada, a Marathi stand-up comedy special was supposed to launch in the second half of April; however, we brought that forward and released it in the first week of April itself,” he says. 

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The reason why these OTT platforms have been on their toes is because the watch time and subscriptions have witnessed a surge during this period and they are witnessing high level of growth in their key markets and demographics.

“ALTBalaji is witnessing strong uptake of digital subscriptions with an average of 17,000 subscriptions added per day post lockdown versus an average of 10,600 in March 2020 pre lockdown a growth of 60%,” shares Nachiket Pantvaidya, CEO, ALTBalaji and Group COO, Balaji Telefilms.

In the lockdown, they have launched Who’s Your Daddy, Baarish season 2 and their upcoming slate includes Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain season 3 and Beebaakee. 

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He further adds that they are on track in terms of the show launches and have 11-12 shows that have been shot already. “They only need post-production and editing, which can happen from home as well. So we actually have a stock of 10-12 shows which can be put out in the next 6-7 months even if the unfortunate lockdown continues for a few more months. We are in a good position to give out 1-2 shows per month for the next 5-6 months,” he explains.

Amazon Prime Video has a jam-packed calendar. After launching shows such as Panchayat, season 2 of Four More Shots Please! during this lockdown period, they are gearing up to launch Paatal Lok and their rest of the annual calendar which features shows such as the second seasons of The Family Man and Mirzapur are also on set to come out on time. “Our schedule is on track,” a source said. 

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The streaming platforms are also constantly exploring newer formats and concepts. Hungama launched a property called Hungama Artist Aloud #StayAtHome #StayEntertained that featured popular artistes rendering acoustic performances from their homes and interacting with their fans live on Hungama Music’s Facebook page.

Aparna Acharekar, Programming Head, ZEE5 India, says, “We have aggressively pursued Live events across genres like such Supermoon Live to Home, wellness content, Sunburn at Home which hosts music content, With Sadhguru in Challenging Times which hosts mindfulness content among others to uplift spirits and keep viewers engaged.” 

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Amid lockdown, ZEE5 has dropped original film Bamfaad, a Short Film Festival, REJCTX 2, Kaali 2 as well as two Korean shows dubbed in Hindi Goodbye to Goodbye and Partner For Justice.

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