Mumbai: Content of the people, by the people, for the people. Coming soon to a television screen near you. In the first instance of crowdsourcing entertainment ideas from India’s television viewers, Colosceum Media Pvt. Ltd, a content producer, has tied up with Ormax Media Pvt. Ltd, a media insights firm to make fiction shows ideated by viewers.
Ormax has conducted a six-month survey across 15 cities, in an attempt to create such original content. It will now approach broadcasters and only shows with over 85% probability of success will be presented to them. Crowdsourcing essentially is the process of obtaining services, ideas or content from a swathe of people, typically online, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.
It’s early days for crowdsourcing in India, but it has been extensively adopted in the West for developing algorithms to raising seed funding. Black Crown, a golden amber lager from Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., the world’s leading brewer, was created with user inputs. In Brazil, it has opened PopTent, a crowdsourced video production company specializing in commercials.
“A story may have originated in Indore, developed in Jalandhar and then fine-tuned by another set of consumers in Amravati,” said Lalit Sharma, chief executive officer (CEO), Colosceum Media.
“Currently, production houses make large investments in getting concept developed in-house and broadcasters then make investments to judge their viability, but by creating concepts that are sourced from consumers, we are creating a win-win situation for all stakeholders,” he added.
The new model may prove to be cost-efficient, if not a cost saver. “Both broadcasters and producers desire longevity in the fiction space, and fiction shows in India are so cost-heavy at the onset that if they don’t last for a stipulated amount of time, both parties take huge hits,” said Sharma.
“We have full confidence in this endeavour and that’s why we have decided to back it,” he added. Sharma lays his full faith in viewers’ wisdom when he vows by the long-term gains of crowdsourcing. “We hope to change the way content is developed, and what better way than producing exactly what our viewers want,” he said.
Colosceum Media will produce and fund this format. For Ormax, this model has two major cost components. One, the research cost, and two, the cost of intellectual capital. “The research cost arises as the team travels across the country and meets consumers to generate stories, and there is constant endeavour to update the advanced research techniques being used to generate exciting stories, which results in the cost of intellectual capital,” said Shailesh Kapoor, founder and CEO, Ormax Media.
However, he declined to share the specifics of the total cost. “Crowdsourcing is a very good mechanism of soliciting ideas from consumers since you can reach your target audience.
You do not waste much time in trial an error. It is an influential bottoms-up approach,” said Sumit Mahajan, director at consulting firm Walker Chandiok and Co. Llp. “Some challenges could be managing a large database and then filter for important content. Also, sometimes reaching out to a large number people may prove challenging,” Mahajan said.
According to the India Entertainment and Media Outlook 2014, by Pricewaterhousecoopers Pvt. Ltd, the media and entertainment industry is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% over the next five years, to reach Rs.2.27 trillion in 2018. The television sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15%. “Television continues to be the largest segment, with strong subscription revenues,” it added.
“It’s ironical that while content is made for the viewers, their opinion is only taken when the content is ready and many shows are rejected because they don’t resonate with the consumers,” Kapoor said. In the long run, it has inherent financial efficiencies for the both broadcasters and producers, and should change how content is developed, he added.