24 November 2020 22:50

MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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Tuesday, 24 November 2020 00:00

TV9 Network forays into Bengal

To launch TV9 Bangla in the crucial state

TV9 Network, India’s largest television news network by reach, has embarked on a massive expansion plan for both its linear television as well as digital news businesses. The expansion plan will kick off with the launch of TV9 Bangla, a 24X7 news channel in the dynamic Bengal news market early next year.

Before the launch of TV9 Bangla, the network will unveil its digital offering, tv9bangla.com in December. As West Bengal prepares to go to the hustings, the grand entry of TV9 Bangla digital and TV platforms will be a game-changer for the robust Bangla news market.

Commenting on the Network’s foray into West Bengal, Barun Das, CEO, TV9 Network, said: “Gopal Krishna Gokhale had famously said ‘What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow’. But nearly a century later it would seem like that statement applies more to Bengal’s past than the present. An intellectually progressive state and exporter of the best talent to India and the world, we believe the state and its people still retain the wisdom and wares to make that its future as well. Bengalis are the typical Argumentative Indian, they want to keep her ear to the ground and hence are naturally drawn to news.

“More importantly, Bengalis are proud of their language and largely consume news in their language. The discerning Bengali viewer will always have room for a neutral perspective and a balanced opinion. That’s the place in the Bengali heart and mind that TV9 Bangla aspires to occupy. We are here to strike the right balance with neutrality and a fair perspective forming the core of our operations. Our unbiased coverage and world class presentation will give teeth to the Fourth Estate in West Bengal.”

On the timing of the launch, Das said: “The state is already into election mode. Indirect canvassing has already started and the heat is building up. Given Bengal’s propensity for free flow of information, news viewership is bound to peak. We believe this is a perfect opportunity for TV9 Bangla to establish its credentials and win the maximum share of viewership and voice.”

The network has onboarded veteran journalist Anjan Bandyopadhyay as the editor of TV9 Bangla news channel. A gold medallist from Calcutta University, Bandyopadhyay has 32 years of experience and has worked with almost all major media houses, including ABP, Zee, ETV and Sky Bangla. He was the editor of Zee 24 Ghanta and his last assignment was with ABP as its Editor-Digital.

Hiring for both the platforms is in full swing. Amritanshu Bhattacharya has also joined as the Editor, TV9 Bengali Digital and will also serve as Managing Editor, Output, for the television channel. Bhattacharya comes with a rich experience of more than 25 years across print, audio visual and digital media, having worked with Jugantar, Aajkaal, ETV and Zee Media Corp. His last assignment was as an Associate Editor and Head of Digital of Zee 24 Ghanta.

With the launch of TV9 Bangla, TV9 Network looks to further reinforce its regional dominance and consolidate its position as the No. 1 news network in the country.

People are more drawn to individual experiences and a collection of that content makes a platform: Sameer Nair - CEO, Applause Entertainment talks about the transition from Cinemas to Smartphones at the 11th U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit

Since the world is shadowed by the pandemic, the consumption pattern of the audience has transitioned drastically. Entertainment industry has for one witnessed a radical change as its audience have taken to smartphones as theatres have taken the hit. This has further prodded the digital landscape to pick up greater pace and the streaming platforms across the world to acquire a fresh audience base. To bring these changes to light and platform an insightful discussion, Asia Society, Southern California, the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context, orchestrated a discussion on ‘Cinemas to Smartphones: Streaming Wars and the Future of Bollywood and India Content’.

The discussion was a part of the 11th U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit, that attracts the most important and interesting speakers in U.S. and Asian entertainment. The country in focus was one of the largest consumer markets in the world, India. To represent the country on a global scale, Sameer Nair, CEO - Applause Entertainment, the content arm of the Aditya Birla conglomerate, shared his insightful perspective on the topic. Other eminent panellists in the discussion included the director, Shekhar Kapur, and entertainment lawyer, Gowree Gokhale.

The platform is known for providing insights, generating ideas and promoting collaborations across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy to address present challenges and create a shared future.

Sameer at the lecture series highlighted the impact of COVID in India, the streaming industry, the future of television, and the big opportunities lying in India. Following are the excerpts:

OTT Landscape Development in India

This period is a lot like the early stages. It is more like the 90s for what it was for television in India with a whole bunch of channels coming up with a number of players and investors. Here we have a potential 500 million of an audience base and the streaming platforms have touched around 20 million, so it is a long way to go. India is a large market connected with smartphones and broadband connectivity, cheapest data in the world, already savvy with television and film, so this is a growth phase where there will be a lot of investment as we essentially move audiences from television to streaming.

Importance of Theatre in the Industry

Theatrical revenue is a very important revenue stream as when we draw a comparison between 9000 theatrical screens versus 900 million smartphone screens, we miss talking about the fact that the 900 million smartphone screens are not going to generate the sort of revenue as compared to what the country can potentially generate theatrically. So, taking the theatrical experience off the market translates to a significant economic change and you are also leaving a great chunk of retail revenue on the table. I think streaming platforms can compensate for those 80-100 billion dollars to offset the theatrical revenue loss.

The Future of Television in India

The linear television industry in India has reached 197 million TV and cable satellite homes. There is about 10-15 million more to go and it is now scraping the bottom of the barrel. As every content platform and every technology creates a content habit, TV was the classic talking to the consumer technology and it told you to watch your favourite shows at specific time slots so you had to reorder your life accordingly. On contrarian grounds, streaming platforms made content available to you whenever you want it, and that has been one big change in consumer habits. Also the way TV is going, I think it is going to play out. It is ad and subscriber dependent and it reached its scale. This is a decade where we will be able to see a gradual transitioning out of typical linear television to streaming platforms and then moving on to even more dramatic technological advancements.

Success of Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story

People watch programmes not channels, and in a way how people watch movies and go to theatres because of the ambience, similarly now with platforms or with any form of content, people are more drawn to individual experiences and a collection of that content makes a platform. So there are things that can stand out, so that piece of content could succeed but for that platform to succeed the offering is much larger and deeper as eventually they depend on a subscription model or they want their customers to come back again and again. I think that while people watch shows and individual content, so for platforms to succeed they need lots of those.

 

With a spike in the consumption of entertainment content streaming online during the lockdown, the OTT platforms are likely to come out of pandemic and work from home situations at a better pace.

The path to recovery is looking a bit hard for cinema halls, hence OTT platforms can treat out new offerings. Now, even the movies have taken the OTT route for their releases without having to wait for pan-India theatre re-openings.

Amidst this, regional content is gaining momentum and attracting more viewers on the OTT platforms. There is an upward graph in consumption of dubbed cinema from the South, particularly Telugu and Tamil films.

To cater to the giant demand for regional content from the audience, here are 5 regional OTT platforms that are becoming the preference for the audience for dubbed regional content in today’s world –

Dollywood Play – Dollywood Play is a dedicated OTT platform for Hindi dubbed content aims to bring the best of mass entertainment content (movies & series) across a wide range of genres like Action, Adventure, Thriller, Horror, Comedy, Love, Drama and 18+. Witnessing the wide success & acceptance of Hindi dubbed content for South Indian & Hollywood movies on digital & linear platforms for its audience. The platform deals in dubbed content in the form of full movies, Mini movies, video clips, Music videos, etc.

Aha – Aha is an Indian over-the-top streaming service owned by Arha Media & Broadcasting Private Limited, a joint venture by Geetha Arts and My Home Group which offers Telugu-language content. Launched officially in March 2020, service is loaded with films from pre OTT era from various production houses. Arjun Suravaram, Kaithi Telugu dubbed version and Choosi Choodangaane are the first set of the feature films acquired by the service as official streaming partner

Hoichoi – Hoichoi is the on-demand platform focuses on Bengali language films and entertainment content mainly, but also provides English subtitles to all movies. Currently, it features over 500 film titles, including more than 100 SVF produced films and about 400 other films. Apart from this, Hoichoi contains more than 1,000 Bengali songs for audio streaming globally. The platform is also introducing children's content, and has original films, web series and short films across many genres.

Olly Plus – Olly Plus was launched in 2020, By Sk Line Production Olly Plus is Odisha's new online Odia OTT platform where you can enjoy unlimited Odia Videos, Albums, Movies, Comedy Videos, Short Films, Audio Storys and Romantic videos on the go. Olly Plus has passionate plans to make the Cinema of Odisha touch a new height.

Sun Nxt – Sun NXT is an Indian video on demand service run by Sun TV Network. It was launched in June 2017 with content in four languages focusing the South Indian region. In February 2020, the platform's subscriber base grew to about 15 million users and started making profit. It is available free on Vodafone Play, Jio Cinema, Airtel Xstream.

In an industry-first move, social media analytics firm, Twitteet released its analytics report featuring 20 categories today.

The report features Twitter engagements of politicians, journalists, business leaders, sportspersons, movie stars, authors, chefs and comedians from October ‘20.

Expectedly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi topped the overall Indian Twitter engagement rankings with over 7.2 million engagements. In the intensively competitive Journalists category, News Nation’s Deepak Chaurasia topped Twitter engagement with a whopping 1.88 million engagements. In the Business Leaders category, Anand Mahindra towers over others with over 4 lakh engagements.

The IPL was the flavour of the season for cricketers, where expectedly India captain and expectant father Virat Kohli topped Twitter engagement with 2.4 million engagements. Among Indian sports persons, outside of cricket, Olympic medallist and pro-boxer Vijendra Singh tops with 4.27 lakh engagements. Sonu Sood’s humanitarian work during the pandemic saw huge resonance on Twitter where even at a Twitter following of a tenth of superstar Shah Rukh Khan (Sonu Sood’s 4.6 million followers to SRK’s 41.3 million followers) he topped Twitter engagement among Bollywood Stars with a phenomenal 2.4 million engagements.

In other categories, Comedians and Start-up founders made their mark. Among comedians, Kunal Kamra topped impressively with 1.1 million engagements. Cred Founder Kunal Shah led the Business Founders category with 60K engagements and Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma was next with 23K engagements.

Speaking at the launch of the Twitteet October Report, co-founder Sandeep Amar said, “Twitteet is one of the leading social business intelligence, social monitoring and actionable insights solutions firms catering to businesses and marketing leaders around the world. We run daily analysis of social media engagements and then mine actionable insights from them. At some level, a leader's Twitter engagement gives one sense of his/her connection with their target audience and the issues that matter to them. We hope to sharpen our insights over time and offer a wider range of targeted products across social platforms and geographies.”

Entries invited from content creators across 190 countries~

“A singular chance to showcase your work to audiences across the globe and attain fame instantly”

50 Shortlisted entries across genres and languages to be premiered on ZEE5

In line with its vision of bringing the best of entertainment content across languages to the fore for audiences across the globe and encouraging local talent across countries, ZEE5 Global, the largest OTT platform for South Asian content, today announced the launch of a Global OTT Content Festival. A first-of-its-kind across global OTT platforms at this geo-scale, the Content Festival will give independent filmmakers, students of cinema, and young content creators a global platform to showcase their talent on and find audiences in 190+ countries.

Through the Content Festival, ZEE5 Global is inviting entries for content created in any language across fiction and non-fiction TV shows, movies, documentaries, stories, short films, music videos and more. The duration for music videos or albums can be between 3 to 5 minutes, and audio-visual content comprising of episodic content, film, web-series etc. must have a minimum duration of 30 minutes.

Participants are required to send in their entries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Entries will be open for a month. An expert panel of judges at ZEE5 will shortlist the top 50 entries which will then be premiered exclusively on the platform. ZEE5 will also drive promotional efforts around the content globally on behalf of the filmmakers.

The Content Festival is expected to attract the largest aggregation of entries across languages from multiple markets. Not only is the Festival a singular unique opportunity for content creators to attain global fame instantly, but it will also add vastly to the slate of language content already available on ZEE5.

Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, said, “As a global platform, we’re often approached by people across markets for opportunities to showcase their content on ZEE5. We’re thrilled therefore to be announcing the ZEE5 Global Content Festival, a first of its kind initiative across global OTT platforms at this geo-scale, to give aspiring and budding content creators a chance for instant global recognition. An initiative like this will not only bring to the fore hidden gems from different countries but also add vastly to our already rich content library, and I eagerly look forward to watching the shortlisted entries.”

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