Bi­mal Un­nikr­ish­nan,

The Brand Reporter - - COVERSTORY -

vice pres­i­dent, con­tent head, Vu­clip (Viu)

On the chal­lenges

OTT comes with its own creative pos­si­bil­i­ties and chal­lenges. I think there is a cer­tain ma­tu­rity we need to achieve and work on to cre­ate re­ally high qual­ity con­tent that the film in­dus­try can boast of.

In In­dia, we are in Tamil, Tel­ugu and Hindi. Each mar­ket has its own po­ten­tial and chal­lenges. So, evolve as fast as you can. Our ba­sic at­tempt is to un­der­stand the view­ers from each of these mar­kets. Un­like TV se­ri­als, peo­ple ex­pect a lot more from OTT in terms of qual­ity, fresh­ness and the nar­ra­tive. Other chal­lenges in­clude get­ting the right writ­ers or ac­tors.

On find­ing the right writer

We never say no to ex­pe­ri­enced or good writ­ers, whether they come from TV or films. One of the big­gest chal­lenges we face while work­ing with an es­tab­lished writer is that he/ she sim­ply wouldn’t have that kind of time to de­vote to an orig­i­nal se­ries. A good TV writer is al­ready busy writ­ing round the clock.

Many writ­ers we have worked with have had their up­bring­ing in TV. They can write for dig­i­tal se­ries or films only if they take a break. Also, in TV it is more of for­mu­lae writ­ing, so, whether it is round the clock or bound by time, de­liv­ery be­comes more im­por­tant than qual­ity. Those pa­ram­e­ters of TV might dis­cour­age some peo­ple to work with TV writ­ers. But we still be­lieve a good writer is a good writer no mat­ter which medium he be­longs to.

On at­tract­ing view­ers

I think it takes prob­a­bly 10 min­utes or, at the worst, a whole episode to get a viewer hooked on OTT. The first episode, more or less, de­cides whether one is go­ing get hooked or not. In TV, though the first week de­cides the fate of the daily soap, you still have the lux­ury of mak­ing creative changes while you are on the run and have a turn­around. In dig­i­tal se­ries, we don’t have that lux­ury. The only weapon that an OTT plat­form has to re­ally hook a viewer, is in the ini­tial five or ten min­utes of the first episode.

On gen­er­at­ing en­gag­ing con­tent

At Viu, we max­imise the in-depth un­der­stand­ing of the viewer we are talk­ing to. A mil­len­nial viewer is a dy­namic one and keeps chang­ing year on year, day on day. Our chal­lenge is to take what they un­der­stand and what they as­pire to.

Se­condly, we in­vest time in se­lect­ing the kind of tal­ent we want to work with when it comes to writ­ing, pro­duc­ing and di­rect­ing be­cause these choices will even­tu­ally re­flect in the qual­ity of the orig­i­nals we make.

Thirdly, we look for sub­jects that help us max­imise the po­ten­tial of the dig­i­tal medium by push­ing the en­ve­lope, in­tro­duc­ing new nar­ra­tives, per­spec­tives or sub­jects that have not been touched upon.

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