Why Netflix, Amazon concentrating more on desi shows

Why Netflix, Amazon concentrating more on desi shows
Highlights

The Indian entertainment scene is witnessing a seismic change with 30 over-the-top (OTT) platforms vying for space as players look to differentiate themselves, says a new report, adding that players like Netflix and Amazon Prime now need to create more desi content to bring more users to their platforms.

New Delhi: The Indian entertainment scene is witnessing a seismic change with 30 over-the-top (OTT) platforms vying for space as players look to differentiate themselves, says a new report, adding that players like Netflix and Amazon Prime now need to create more desi content to bring more users to their platforms.

Massive capital commitments have been made by platforms for building libraries of diverse original content over the last couple of years for the Indian audience.

According to the KPMG report titled "India's Digital Future: Mass of niches", OTT services attract a more individualistic audience compared to the family viewers in a country dominated by single TV households.

"Hence, the content on these platforms needs to appeal to different consumer sensibilities and have an element of freshness.

While OTT players can attract their chosen target audience for sampling content with a few originals that appeal to them, depth in such digital-native original content becomes vital to ensure consumer stickiness in the long run," the findings showed.

Indian language internet users are expected to grow to 536 million by 2021 from 234 million in 2016.

As nine out of 10 new Internet users in India are likely to be Indian language users, it is vital for OTT players to cater to this audience in their native language.

The OTT platforms have started to focus on building a library of regional content that includes movies and originals over the past 12-18 months.

Most of the video-on-demand (VOD) platforms have content offerings in regional languages. But such content has been restricted to select movies along with a handful of original shows, if any.

"However, dubbing has emerged as an effective tool for players to quickly expand the breadth of original and movie content available across multiple regional languages like Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, and Marathi," the report noted.

For example, Prime Video has dubbed popular Hindi originals like "Inside Edge" and "Breathe" to Tamil and Telugu.

In addition to originals, Prime Video has also tried to increase depth in their regional library by dubbing English movies like "Alpa", "Rampage", etc. to Tamil and Telugu.

Similarly, Hotstar has used dubbing to launch the Hindi web-series "Criminal Justice" in six regional languages - Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bangla, Malayalam and Marathi.

"OTT players like Netflix and Amazon prime have started hiring writers to add contextual flavour to dialogues in English in addition to launching regional web series," said the report.

Much of the video viewing in India is happening in a local language and YouTube, which has 265 million unique, active users has reported that over 95% of its users watched videos in a regional language.

Many OTT players are also investing in building their regional content libraries to match the demand from these audiences, the report mentioned.

Telco partnerships have also emerged as an important source of subscription/syndication revenue for the OTT platforms, with a significant 30-35% contribution to the overall subscription revenues in FY19.

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