Regional Content: The Ultimate Frontier For Homegrown OTT Platforms To Take On Netflix And Amazon Prime?

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‘Content is king’, an overheard phrase in the entire digital space, is precisely what homegrown OTT video streaming platforms are proving to be right with their latest shows as they prepare to take on giants such as Netflix and Amazon.

Recently, Ormax Media’s streaming tracker in collaboration with Film Companion released the list of top five OTT shows dominating October’s last week and guess what we found?

Besides being led by Mirzapur 2 from Amazon Prime at 16.8 million views, it also included SonyLIV’s crime thriller Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story at 6 million views, MX Player’s High which has 2.3 million views and Ashram which raked in 2.2 million views.

The list is an obvious hint at the fact that homegrown video streaming platforms have begun gaining momentum and might have finally cracked the code of how to come up with binge-worthy and quality content that would appease the Indian audiences.

The rising popularity could be attributed to many different advantages these Indian platforms might have over the giants Netflix and Amazon. Having a deeper understanding of what ticks regional content and understanding the mass media popularity in India are some of those factors that global players are yet to understand the importance of. However, according to Karan Bedi, the CEO of MX Player, for them, it has been months of careful strategising over the right mix and number of shows and which audiences to go after.

Also, one needs to note how homegrown platforms such as SonyLIV, MX Player, Zee5, AltBalaji and so on are lazer hyper-focused on creating a content library for the Indian masses only. Thus, over time it can be expected that the shows they produce are going to become more refined as opposed to the biggies wherein they need to cater to everyone.

For instance, Bedi’s MX Player which was named the top streaming app in India for the year 2019 has been an absolute treat for Indian masses who prefer to watch local content over U.S or British tv series or shows. Therefore, they have always raked in a humongous number of Indian viewers in this niche.

Another critical factor that led to consumers opting to watch content on homegrown OTT platforms is pandemic. The lockdown made the rate of content consumption take over the rate at which content was being produced. OTT users in India are spending much more time on content than ever before. Hence, when an average subscriber of Netflix or Amazon Prime found less new additions to their go-to platforms, they chose to explore other OTT platforms in search of newer material.

Deepak Sonpar who is the senior director at MediaCom, believes that the lockdown’s effect coupled with various other equally factors such as cheap data prices and affordable handsets are some of the critical reasons why Indian video streaming platform today might have a fighting chance to take on the bigger giants at the homefront.

Even though competitors such as Netflix and Amazon have deep pockets, a bigger war chest, a goldmine of user data about their content consumption preferences and have also been actively producing Indian content, one can say that ultimately it is the homegrown giants which understand the nuances of regional language and are able to squeeze out more quality in lesser budgets.

Nonetheless, that being said, discoverability is still a huge issue in India. Thus for a piece of content that is as equally good as Sacred Games to be noticed, it needs a lot of marketing and word of mouth, something which having deep pockets do indeed solve.

Therefore, at the end of the day, Indian homegrown OTT platforms still need to find out innovative ways to build awareness around the shows they are offering. What are your views about regional content being proceed by homegrown players versus the same being offered by the likes of Netflix and Amazon? Which one do you hold to a higher standard? Let us know in the comments down below. We will keep you updated with all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.


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