Last year covid 19 lockdowns made a revolution in the entertainment industry. Apart from Cinema halls, youtube, and television OTT platforms have started to be noted by the public as an additional source of entertainment. The OTT platforms have made their advent around 2008 in India, by Reliance Entertainment named BIGFlix. Though the 4G network and smartphone were in their infancy around 2008, and also due to the popularity of television at those days, made this OTT platform a hidden gem.
September 5, 2016, has made a revolution in the history of telecommunications companies by providing free 4g data for 3 months. Then, Jio launched economical plans of 4g, which made the 4g network an affordable fruit for everyone. To compete with Jio, every other network has to cut down its price. This historical revolution is a major reason for the growth of OTT platforms in India. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Zee5 are some instances of the famous OTT platforms in India. But, OTT platforms were at the stages of development. Students and workers have unnoticed this platform because of their studies and work pressure.
Covid 19, a pandemic that set all the people locked in their homes is a major reason for the popularity that these platforms have evidenced. Cinema halls and television serials were the major sources of entertainment for people. But, the restrictions of lockdown have compelled the entertainment industry to shut down theatres and stop the shooting for all movies and serials. Due to this, very primary sources of entertainment have been blocked. This situation helped the people to shift the focus to OTT platforms.
People started to watch old movies as well as web series on OTT platforms. As the subscribers were growing day by day for the OTT platforms, the organizations planned to provide something different for the audience. OTT platforms started to buy rights for streaming for the movies, which has been ready for theatrical release. They introduced a new term “Direct OTT release”. The films which are ready for theatrical release had to suffer a lot due to the financial risks involved. By buying the rights from them, they begin to stream the movies before theoretical release. This captured the audience resulting in an elevation of the number of subscribers.
This covid 19 2nd wave, after a year, has a different impact on the audience. OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, and zee 5 started to introduce regional contents which is a strategy to attract more customers. They started to give importance to the regional contents, while previously there were many Hindi and English contents. The regional web series, dubbed web series in local language has increasingly become popular among the respective states of India.
November Story, Paava Kadhaigal, Live telecast are examples of Tamil content available on various OTT platforms. Netflix added that they are doing a lot of consumer research to add many regional web series and they are very strong in their idea that this regional content will attract more customers to their organization. Disney plus Hotstar says nearly 40 percent of the overall content present in their app is regional content. Amazon Prime introduces anthologies and web series in regional languages in addition to the pre-theatrical release.
Along with these many regional OTT platforms Hoichoi (Bengali), Aha (Telugu), SunNxt (Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam), Olly Plus ( Odia), etc., have also evidenced growth in their subscribers due to the lockdown. Truly, the lockdown has created a bad situation for all sectors including the media and entertainment industry. But, the OTT platform is eye-catching today, which is due to the lockdown that was imposed on us.
So, there is no doubt that OTT platforms are going to make a stride again with these “regional content” strategies. Let popcorn be our snacks. Come on fellas, let us watch some useful entertainment contents which are not just for time pass, but also overall development and knowledge. The entertainment may also be a little infotainment, which elevates our knowledge and critical overlooking.