(From left) The White Tiger, Soul and Sherni, have all debuted on OTT platforms
(From left) The White Tiger, Soul and Sherni, have all debuted on OTT platforms

Missing: A measure of success?

From “collections in crores” to movies being judged by the buzz on social media: Two film veterans on how they measure success on OTT
By Srishti Behl Arya, Viveck Vaswani
PUBLISHED ON JUL 04, 2021 09:12 AM IST

“The qualitative view of success over box office numbers is empowering!”

By Srishti Behl Arya

Srishti says that one could hypothesise that the consumption of OTT content is about mood-watching
Srishti says that one could hypothesise that the consumption of OTT content is about mood-watching

Aarya, Paatal Lok, Mirzapur 2, Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, Asur, Panchayat, Special Ops. The only things these shows have in common is that they all launched in 2020 and are considered to be some of the most successful shows.

Widely different in their subject material, creators, on-screen talent and the platforms they are available on, this is truly a shining example of the democratisation of content.

With a variation of content becoming the recurring theme of OTT, and the ability to consume your next favourite show or film at your convenience, be it on the phone, or at home on the TV or on a tablet, one could hypothesise that consumption of OTT content is about mood-watching. 

The ‘one size fits all’ idea need not exist. The idea of qualifying things in a homogenous fashion should no longer be the yardstick for success.

Qualitative view of success over traditional measures like box office numbers or TRPs is empowering creators to tell stories in authentic forms.

Eventually, we may come up with some metric to quantify the performance of titles in a uniform fashion and even begin to chase common goals, but for now, I believe, we are in the Golden Age of entertainment for both creators and consumers.

Srishti Behl Arya is the former director of international original films at Netflix India, and a producer who served on the jury for the International Emmys in 2014 and 2016.

“OTT has brought back a democratic way of creating content”

By Viveck Vaswani

VIveck says he’s delighted that he does not have to haggle with distributors, exhibitors, publicity people and cinema owners anymore
VIveck says he’s delighted that he does not have to haggle with distributors, exhibitors, publicity people and cinema owners anymore

OTT went from niche to mainstream when the Covid lockdowns started. However, the lockdowns were merely the catalysts for a change that was long overdue.

OTT has brought back a democratic way of creating content. It has taken away the dependency on stars and brought the supremacy back to writers and directors.

Cinema needs the Eid or Diwali long holiday or weekend hype to sell more tickets than in a normal week. OTT gives a film access to a global audience in 240 countries and 20 languages even in the middle of the week. More people will see Sherni this weekend across the world because the film doesn’t need hype!

Vested interests (cinema owners, multiplex owners, distributors) will call this a temporary phase. Maybe it is. But it will give way only to new avenues of content distribution which will cost less, not more.

Cost effectiveness and quality are the keys to the future of content creation. As a producer, I am delighted that I do not have to haggle with distributors, exhibitors, marketing people, publicity people and cinema owners anymore.

I can now start haggling with my creative people instead, to create better content!

Viveck Vaswani is a senior actor-producer and currently the Dean of the School of Contemporary Media at Pearl Academy. His last outing as an actor, Scam 1992, was popular on OTT.

From HT Brunch, July 4, 2021

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