This fort­night...

The Brand Reporter - - EDITORIAL - Ash­wini Gan­gal ash­wini.gan­gal@afaqs.com

Mir­ror, mir­ror, on the wall… Will this con­tent work at all?

This fort­night, we in­ter­viewed the most sought af­ter mod­ern day sooth­sayer Shailesh Kapoor of Ormax Me­dia, whose job it is to pre­dict whether video con­tent will work or not. The way ‘share-abil­ity’ is the most im­por­tant thing for all kinds of on­line con­tent, ‘so­cial ad­vo­cacy’ is the hal­lowed in­dex for video con­tent across OTT plat­forms, movies and TV. That is es­sen­tially the ‘word of mouth’ value a piece of video con­tent com­mands. So­cial ad­vo­cacy is how video con­tent is dis­cov­ered. The only ques­tion con­tent cre­ators ought to ask them­selves is – “Af­ter watch­ing this, will peo­ple tell their friends to watch it?” It’s as sim­ple as that. If only mak­ing ‘rec­om­mend­able’ con­tent was just as easy.

I spoke to Shailesh about the psy­chol­ogy of the In­dian ‘video con­sumer’. What do In­di­ans want to watch? What kind of con­tent will work in the days ahead? One of the most in­ter­est­ing take­aways from my chat with him was – to­day, the na­ture of video-on-de­mand con­tent is de­ter­mined more by the sen­si­bil­i­ties of the peo­ple mak­ing it than by the pref­er­ences of the peo­ple watch­ing it. That’s partly why a lot of the con­tent on OTT plat­forms tends to be dark, both metaphor­i­cally (edgy, dis­turb­ing, vi­o­lent) and lit­er­ally (low on bright­ness, light). Film mak­ers ex­pe­ri­ence a sense of lib­er­a­tion when they craft OTT con­tent be­cause the plat­form af­fords free­dom of the kind our cen­sor­ship-plagued fea­ture film can­vas doesn’t.

Speak­ing of lib­er­a­tion, the ‘OTT watcher’ in In­dia also ex­pe­ri­ences a rare sense of free­dom while con­sum­ing con­tent on th­ese plat­forms, be­cause it is, by de­sign, a solo view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. In In­dia, video con­tent con­sump­tion has, tra­di­tion­ally, been ei­ther a ‘fam­ily ac­tiv­ity’ (tele­vi­sion) or a com­mu­nity event (movies in the­atres). OTT has changed that. Con­se­quently, the ap­petite for dark, in­tense con­tent has de­vel­oped. Shailesh cau­tions against over­do­ing this kind of con­tent: “OTT needs more va­ri­ety…”

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