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OTT platforms see potential in regional markets across India

According to the latest FICCI EY media and entertainment industry report, the share of regional content will increase to 60% of TV consumption in 2025 from around 55% in 2020 and to around 50% of OTT consumption from 30% in 2019. Notedly, as per Mint, Marathi music channel Zee Vajwa, Enterr10 Television’s Dangal Kannada and Enterr10 Rangeela in Bhojpuri were launched in 2020.

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Arpit Machhar, head of marketing at Enterr10 Television Network, told Mint that regional markets have tremendous potential and scope with many of them underserved that poses a viable opportunity for expansion to networks like Enterr10 that are keen to expand their presence beyond the Hindi-speaking belt.

Speaking of regional languages, the latest film that has caught the nation by storm is the Malayalam film The Great Indian Kitchen, which was rejected by Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and taken up by Neestream, a single-language OTT platform dedicated to Malayalam films and series. Charles George, regional head Kerala, Neestream, told Forbes India that more than two lakh people streamed The Great Indian Kitchen on the platform after its release. The platform was launched in November 2020 by NeST Technologies Corp, which is part of the US-based JKH Holdings, only for Malayalam-language viewers and had garnered a subscriber base of over 3 lakh people in the past three months.

George said that unlike larger, multi-language OTT players, their business strategy has been to let content bring them recognition. “We don’t want to worry about the commercialization aspect or entertainment value of films right now while considering titles on the platform in order to compete with larger, national players,’ he explained.

Experts say that as major production houses and mainstream filmmakers, particularly from the three dominant film industries – Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, flocked towards major OTT platforms amid the pandemic, the competition increased and commercial stakes became higher. Industry experts say that even with the presence of 40-odd OTT services in India, there is room for more, particularly regional languages.

And these single-language OTT platforms have managed to attract some big-ticket films for digital premieres, such as Aha, the Telugu streaming platform, attained the rights to exclusively stream Telugu film Krack starring Shruti Hassan and Ravi Teja.

And brands don’t want to be left out from this hot pie either. Karthik Srinivasan, a communications strategy consultant, said brands have realized that dubbing Hindi or English ads in local languages alone wouldn’t work anymore. Even in print, brands have actively started to make small local language additions to their ads or trying to write local language scripts in English. My Big Plunge

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