Regional content driving the digital wave in Rural Areas - By Mr. Anant Roongta, MD, Famous Studios

Mar 26, 2022 3 mins

As the diversity in content takes centre stage, OTT as an industry has scaled newer heights. The year that went by was precarious and unpredictable for the entertainment industry globally. After seemingly unending turmoil, the industry partially got back on its feet because of the rise of OTT consumption.  With the advent of a Work from Home culture, coupled with outdoor restrictions, streaming platforms witnessed a jump in subscription revenue. Interestingly, in just a few years since its launch, OTT has reached a new level of subscription revenue when compared to the broadcast industry, which took years to manage the current level of subscription revenue. This in turn has provided an opportunity to not only experiment with content but also create content that resonates with the local audience.

Focussing on regional content for wider growth

With hyper active internet users and increased internet penetration in the country, studios and platforms are creating storylines inspired by people’s behaviour and way of life in various regions. The remarkable thing here is content is either dubbed in multiple languages with the scripts and references that make people connect with the show across the country, or it is created for a specific region. A good example of that would be MX Player’s Samantar that has a suspenseful storyline that any Maharashtrian individual could relate to. Such regional content is especially consumed in the native areas of the country amidst the digital progression and easy availability of smartphones at affordable prices.

Regional content creation has its own advantages - an immersive storyline could potentially be created at 30%-40% lower cost with larger viewership. Regional content consumption is expected to double, with over a billion of the population possessing smartphones by the next decade. Currently, streaming services have more subscribers than cable connections. According to a report released by FICCI, regional languages will make up 60% of television consumption by 2025 from around 55% in 2020 and around 50% of video streaming consumption from 30% in 2019. Keeping the demand for the regional content in mind, the big media platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Zee5, Hotstar and Voot are keen on producing regional content for the masses.

Scope for growth 

Regional markets have a lot of potential for the future because many of them are underserved, which means there's room for growth. Due to the increase in demand, marketers have realised that simply dubbing Hindi or English advertising into local languages no longer suffices; therefore they have begun to include modest local language additions to their ads or are attempting to compose local language scripts in English. With digital platforms making significant progress in terms of content creation as they seek new methods to thrill their audiences, local material will receive a significant boost, which is likely to benefit regional cinema greatly.

Regional content– the future of the digital era

The consumption of digital content has exponentially expanded over time. People have been glued to their screens riveted by Maharashtrian comedy, South action, Bengali criminal thrillers, and love story narratives in multiple languages, riding on refreshing and crisp writing and settings. Slowly but surely, OTT platforms have realized and acknowledged that regional language shows are           attracting the most viewers. The consumption of regional material is expected to increase in the next few years, particularly on streaming platforms, as non-metro audiences continue to lead internet user growth.

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