By: Yohan P Chawla
Last year in November, Tata Sky partnered with ShortsTV to bring the best short films from across the world for their audiences as an additional subscription-based service at a monthly fee of INR 75.
To ramp up the service, ShortsTV has now partnered with Royal Stag Barrel Select large short films to get their entire catalogue of short films on Tata Sky for television audiences.
I caught up with Carter Pilcher, Chief Executive of Shorts International for a brief chat on the new partnership and how ShortsTV has been doing in India.
On the new partnership with Royal Stag Barrel Select large short films on ShortsTV, Pilcher said, “There are always new films going on to the service. We have launched our new show that will air twice a month, in partnership with Royal Stag Barrel Select large short films. These short films have got television as a platform for the first time. In a one hour special show on Saturday, 9th February, it showed several short films and interviews with the talent that was involved in making these films.”
On the short film consumption trends In India, Pilcher said, “Well, the one key consumption trend that we’re finding in India with ShortsTV is that audiences like it. It’s been really exciting. Since the launch we have had very steady growth in numbers. We had been concerned about the media attention and upheaval around the whole new tariff order initiative which would impact our subscriptions, but actually it’s had no effect whatsoever.”
“We’ve had steady growth has continued among our subscribers at the same level as it was before the new tariff order. In fact, I think it’s helping us we’ve been all baffled by the fact that the numbers have continued to grow on target. Just exactly the same as they were in terms of percentage audience growth, which is very rapid for us and we’ve been really thrilled about it.”
Sharing his thoughts ShortsTV’s Indian partner, Tata Sky, Pilcher said, “I’ll be honest. They’re fantastic. They are the best supporters in the Indian market right now. ShortsTV is across four different continents and in tons of markets, and we are absolutely thrilled at the support that TataSky has provided us.”
On whether ShortsTV is planning to alter the subscription cost of the short films service, Pilchersaid, “Well, that’s a better question for Tata Sky as they are responsible for selling the service but as far as I think, no, we are not changing the subscription cost.”
On the target audience of ShortsTV, Pilcher said, “We have to two types of audience that we really focus on — one is what we call film aficionado audience and the other is the people who really know movies. And then there are the young people who are always watching our shorts on their mobiles and don’t miss out on any opportunity. So we work very closely to get the best short films to those audiences.
On the learnings from the Indian market, Pilcher said, “We launched the service at quite a difficult time in the market, which had nothing do with ShortsTV but the government was in the process of reorganization of how consumers would pay for the channels they watch, which created a challenge for us but I have been thrilled that it has not actually affected our growth rates. So that has been a key learning, on how it all happened on the ground.”