For four years now, SCREENXX Summit and Awards, Adgully’s premier event on the media and entertainment industry, has been covering the various fascinating facets of this industry, highlighting some of the most pressing issues, as well as laying the groundwork to chart its future course along with the industry’s most brilliant minds, visionaries, and mavericks.
In the fifth edition, SCREENXX Summit and Awards 2023 focused on the theme – ‘Entertainment Unplugged – Streaming and Beyond’. Today, content consumption is becoming screen and device-agnostic, which has brought forth new opportunities and challenges. The M&E industry is poised for a future leap with new emerging technologies coming in, as consumer preferences keep changing.
The SCREENXX Summit & Awards 2023 witnessed an engaging fireside chat on ‘Driving engagement on OTT through conversational media marketing’. Chaired by Tabrez Alam, Chief Strategy Officer, Bobble AI, the session featured Soumya Vilekar, Director & Co-Founder, Planet Marathi Seller Services, and Hemant Jain, President & Business Head Digital, Lokmat Media.
Tabrez Alam initiated the conversation by highlighting the phenomenal growth of OTT platforms worldwide and the emergence of established giants like Netflix and Disney. He set the stage for a thought-provoking discussion on how OTT had evolved from being a global entertainment powerhouse to a platform that embraces and thrives on regional content.
Soumya Vilekar shared her views on the evolution of OTT platforms, with a particular focus on the regional content landscape. She began by acknowledging the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the entertainment industry, which led to a surge in OTT consumption. She highlighted that although platforms like Netflix and Amazon were already present, they truly penetrated Indian markets during the pandemic.
“In August 2021, we launched a Marathi OTT platform, leveraging our experience in movie and theater production. The pandemic spurred a shift toward personalised, mobile-based entertainment. Despite the established presence of global giants like Netflix, our focus on regional content presented unique challenges. Our mission was to intimately understand the Marathi audience, catering to their culture and preferences, and bridging the gap between global and regional content,” she added.
Hemant Jain, with his vast experience in Lokmat, the largest Marathi daily in India, shared the enduring power of local content. He said that Lokmat, founded a century ago and institutionalised 50 years ago, boasts of readership numbers that surpass even The Times of India (TOI) in the country. This speaks to the immense influence of local content in India.
He further said, “Our digital journey kicked off in 2016 with minimal online presence, boasting just around 5 lakh users globally and 5 million page views. As we expanded our digital footprint, it became evident that the demand for local content was on the rise, even in the digital age.”
The fireside chat provided an illuminating perspective on the dynamic evolution of the OTT industry and the growing significance of regional content in the global entertainment landscape. Soumya Vilekar and Hemant Jain underscored the importance of catering to the diverse preferences of Indian audiences, both urban and rural, in the ever-expanding OTT universe. Adgully