While the boys continue to script the stellar failure of digital content, I can not help but believe digital content is the king of the future of entertainment. Stakes are high, chairs are wobbling, but the formula still eludes. India is the mecca of art, culture, and literature but when it comes to a dispassionate, brutally honest digital platform then why do we fail? Why do we fail despite the boastful processes, presentations, the story arcs, swanky cabins, and the experts who dwell in them? Is it because we do not have the right people handling digital content? Is it time to go back to the basics of community oriented content not to be confused with sex and deep cleavages. Sports is a great opportunity but it will be largely led by redefining cricket, followed by sports like Gilli Danda, Lakhoti (Kanche), among many others.
I had conceived Zee India Squad (latter rechristened Indian Cricket League), which was born on March 5, 2005; nearly two years before the first official ball was thrown in ICL, and nearly three years prior to the birth of IPL. I believed technology would make the big difference right from player selection: using modern technology like SMS, and email. alongside traditional system for each city. The idea was to get the viewers to indulge through handheld devices.
Eventually, I realized that modern technology could be used to create transparent departures from the traditional game. Regulating betting in a controlled environment, let us say in one stadium to begin with, will contribute in a big way in curbing illegal money laundering in cricket. I have no doubt that regulated betting will compliment local tourism and economy. I can visualize cruise ships between Dubai and Goa for a weekend cricket derby. Imagine the impact of tourist footfall to witness the daily knockout session at the local cricket stadium.
There could be a local winner team that will challenge any three local teams daily for a 5 to 10 over match and people could place their bets. Given the limited scope of out of home entertainment in the hinterland, derbies like these will have a tremendous traction on digital arena. It is with this thought I had developed a format called Indian Cricket Derby which would be a 10 over format with 6 players each and people would bet on the players, teams, runs, wickets, and everything theywanted by registering themselves in-person or online.
I wanted to have it in Mumbai but I did not, considering the extreme dynamism of political fabric which
will allow betting on horses but would ban the ever popular dance clubs of Mumbai. In fact, I also had an invitation from Kerala to start this model. I guess my vision wes far too threatening to people in my own backyard.
Innovation is the key to digital content. Instead of PowerPoints, platforms need to invest in writers, which we don’t do currently. We need to invest in building storylines, invest in inventing characters – learn from Marvel and Disney. Star had made a brave bold decision of creating a bench for developing stories – initiatives like this need to be nurtured. Getting right people is a challenge but getting right people with the right attitude is the need of the hour.
Stop hiring TV and advertising people for digital content aggregation. It is time we accept that cinema and TV is not digital content. And could someone, for the sake of industry, have professionals who indulge, who respond. Great stories come from ordinary people with extraordinary minds-stop asking stupid questions like which stars, directors, and production houses can you bring in and what is my cut!