The streaming conundrum: Is quality suffering at the hands of quantity?
The industry weighs in on the likely consequences of proliferating streaming services, shows and films dropping with overwhelming frequency and viewer fatigue affecting quality content
That too much of anything is bad, applies also to the deluge of OTT content that came our way post the OTT boom in India, more so in the period following the pandemic. Earlier this year, according to a study by Accenture, 77% consumers in India admitted feeling overwhelmed by the number of streaming services to choose from. Additionally, 41% unsubscribed from at least one of the top five OTT platforms. With new shows and films dropping almost every week — the question is: could this explosion of content cause quality to suffer at the hands of quantity?
The Family Man and Scam 1992 actor Sharib Hashmi agrees. “This was bound to happen. We need to keep a check on the quality or else we’re going to dig our own grave. People take 10 minutes to discard content if they don’t like it because there are a thousand other shows and films to watch,” says Hashmi.
Echoing similar sentiments is Aarya and Monica, O My Darling actor Sikandar Kher. He notes, “Quality and quantity have been such a subject of discussion over the world. You go to the West or anywhere — I’m sure tonnes of projects are being made, and not all of them will be of quality.”
Tough times ahead for quality content?
India’s growing OTT base (353 million to 424 million; as per an Ormax report from 2022-end), signalling that demand exists, must be taken with a pinch of salt. With lavish promotional strategies and budgets to mount projects on, quality content — of the kind that once kicked off the OTT revolution — may not stand a chance.
Actor Sunny Hinduja says, “Earlier, with fewer options, good shows got more attention. Now, there’s so much content that good stuff might go unnoticed if it’s not promoted well or doesn’t have famous people,” he says.
However, actor Pankaj Tripathi, the headlining star of one of India’s OG web series, Mirzapur, brushes off that fear: “Log dekh lenge. They decide within minutes what they like or don’t. Woh itne sab mein se achcha dhoondh lenge. Aur aisa nahin hai ki promote nahin hua toh log nahin dekhenge.”
Indeed, shows sans any big names have suddenly finding themselves in the middle of the limelight. It happened with Scam 1992 in 2020 and Kohrra has received similar acclaim since its release in July.
Rasika Dugal adds, “OTT is a thriving, competitive space. Every month, there is a new show, with new actors and directors. That, to me, is a sign of change. I think it’s a positive environment. It’s nice to see different genres.”
Actor Harman Baweja, who surprised everyone with his turn in Scoop this year, says that he has always believed good content can never get “buried”. “Be it less promotions, lesser-known platforms or even lesser-known actors. Eventually, good content will always rise to the top. OTT gives opportunities to so much more talent, because, typically on the big screen, one looks at film economics, which work very differently,” he opines.