Four most important focus areas for Ormax Media in 2021.
Shailesh Kapoor, Founder & CEO, Ormax Media
Building Enduring Metrics for the Streaming (OTT) Category
The streaming (OTT) category in India saw a dramatic upturn in 2020, aided in no small measure by the pandemic-induced lockdown. The SVOD consumer base in India stands at over 40 Million, and that does not include those who watch SVOD content through shared accounts and pirated means. Digital content allows for effective and granular measurement. Each platform owns rich data related to its subscribers, their consumption behaviour and patterns. Yet, unlike television and films, there are no industry-wide metrics available. Platforms are rightfully protective of their data, and there is no advertising factor in the SVOD category to warrant currency measurement. But a content ecosystem, especially one as new and evolving as OTT in India, cannot sustain healthy growth unless it relies on rich category-level data that can map audience tastes and behaviour, to identify underlying trends and content hot buttons.
Ormax Media had taken up this space in all earnestness in 2020, and the coming year should see us building robust and enduring metrics that can help OTT platforms, both SVOD and AVOD, in taking more-informed and financially-prudent decisions related to content and marketing.
Regional, the New National
Be it television or cinema, ample signs over the last few years unequivocally point in a specific direction: That regional is the new local. Regional ‘nationalism’ has been on the rise across the country, with people taking more pride in going back to their roots, their culture, their language and their history. The socio-political climate of the country has fueled this change further. The success of Tanhaji at the box office in early 2020 was driven by this trend. The film got 45% of its box office from Maharashtra state alone, which otherwise contributes about 22% to the overall Hindi box office.
At Ormax Media, while we have been actively working in the Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bangla, Marathi, Punjabi & Gujarati markets over the years, we have stepped up the accelerator considerably on the regional piece now, and in 2021, we will be launching several reports and tools on regional categories, across TV, films & OTT.
One of my pet peeves with the entertainment business in India has been that brand owners are far too lopsidedly content-centric than brand-centric. One understands that entertainment is a category where the content drives the brand in large measure. But it’s that lens that makes all the difference. With the New Tariff Order (NTO), the importance of a strong brand became evidently clear in the television business. Wherever the consumer has to pay directly for something, which is also the case with SVOD, a brand focus will be imperative. Yet, content always dominates discussions, and disproportionately so.
While we have worked on several television and OTT brands over time, we are currently in the process of developing strategic tools that will hero the brand and its importance in an entertainment business’ success. The first half of 2021 should see major activity on this front.
Mood of the Nation: +2 Years
The pandemic has shown us, like never before, how the audience’s mood can define what their entertainment basket looks like. The success of Ramayan in the lockdown period will remain a story to remember for years. The truth is that the mood of the nation has always had a strong bearing on its content choices (remember the Angry Young Man as the personification of the dissatisfied, often unemployed, youth of the 70s?). But in recent times, this aspect has been ignored in most part. Most of the research and strategy briefs we get, for example, are about the present or the immediate future, never the +2 Years future.
Content development lifecycles are often closer to two years than one. A show or a film a writer conceives today may reach its audience in 2022, after passing through development, greenlighting, pre-production, production, post-production and marketing phases. Hence, the ability to predict what will work two years hence will come in very handy. This is a challenging new area that we have taken up for exploration in 2021.