The Creative Challenge
Five OTT content heads present their point of view.
Though Netflix hates the word, #BingeWatch is the term that millennials like to use when they like any type of original online content. But what leads them to binge watch an original that they are hooked on? The right type of casting or direction, name of the director, the production house, the creative script or all of it?
In 2017, Amazon Prime Video’s
Inside Edge - written and produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani’s Excel Entertainment - took the Indian millennial audience by storm.
Facebook posts, recommendations on WhatsApp, word of mouth and the ads from Amazon Prime Video made sure that it was all over the place. But what worked in its favour? Was it a combination of a good script (showing a dark side of league cricket), fantastic direction, high production value or some wonderful acting by Vivek Oberoi, Richa Chadha and others?
Amazon probably nailed it with the subject that is a national craze. The show was directed by Karan Anshuman. Puneet Krishna, Ameya Sarda, Saurav Dey and Sumit Purohit wrote two episodes each along with Anshuman who was involved in writing all 10 episodes.
In 2018, Netflix came to the party with Sacred Games, an Indian crime thriller original directed by Bollywood’s big guns, Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane.
The script was written by stand-up comedian Varun Grover, director Vasant Nath and television actor Smita Singh. The show had a powerful cast with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Saif Ali Khan and Radhika Apte playing pivotal roles
Netflix launched another original film, Love Per Square Foot, featuring Bollywood actor Vicky Kaushal, produced by Ronnie Screwvala and directed by yet another Bollywood and ad actor (Tata Tea’s original Jaago Re guy) Anand Tiwari.
ZEE5, the OTT platform from Zee Entertainment Enterprises, launched Karenjit Kaur: The Untold Story of Sunny Leone, which did extremely well – it has just launched the second season. Season 1 was directed by Aditya Datt and written by Karan Sharma (20 episodes) and Niranjan Kaushik (10 episodes).
Recently, Eros Now launched its first ever web-series, Side Hero, created and directed by Bollywood director Rohan Sippy. The show has been written by Kunaal Roy Kapoor (the main protagonist) along with Gopal Datt, Kautuk Srivastava, Nipun Dharmadhikari and Anuvab Pal.
Apart from the obvious Bollywood and Hindi connection in the above examples, there is Hoichoi, a regional OTT platform that has started off well.
Hoichoi, that only focuses on Bengali originals, has been making its presence felt in a big way. The platform is launching 30 original shows and 12 original movies on the platform in the coming year.
However, online originals come with their own creative challenges before they become hits - or not.
We asked content heads from five OTT platforms on the kind of creative challenges they faced while making an original. Edited excerpts of their responses: