Shemaroo Entertainment, founded 1962 as a book library and ventures into video rentals in 1979, continues to aggregate and syndicate entertainment content even as it builds on its B2C video business initiated in 2017.
As the company marks 60 years this year, it has an OTT presence via ShemarooMe and three broadcast channels – two in Hindi (Shemaroo TV, Shemaroo Umang) and one in Marathi (Shemaroo MarathiBana).
In conversation with Medianews4u.com, COO Arghya Chakravarty said the company will focus on growing its OTT business in Hindi and in international markets.
He said, “Our OTT offering ShemarooMe has a very strong position right now in the Gujarati space and we will continue to fortify it. Going ahead a lot of action will be seen in the B2C space. We will dial up our activities on both, broadcast, and digital video and OTT. While building on our legacy strengths on syndication, we have a strong presence in the Indian domestic market but going forward we want to pivot a lot of our content strength to a lot of international markets. As months progress you will see a lot of action happening on that.”
He added, “We promised one new title every week and we are holding true to that, whether it is a movie or a web series or anything else but something new coming in every week in Gujarati.
“Once we do that we will see ourselves dialing up our presence into other areas. You will see it unfold in the next four to five months. We will move on to other genres and look into the Hindi genre as well as we have strength there. We are going to look at what is our right to succeed – we need to figure that out because there is also a proliferation of Hindi content in OTT. How we can differentiate and create our own space where we have the right to succeed, that is something you will see unfold as we go forward.”
ShemarooMe follows an SVOD model. Without giving specifics, the COO said that subscription numbers are growing in triple digits in the last four to six months.
ShemarooMe claims a strong presence in the US and Canada.
Chakravarty said, “We are also consumed in UK and rest of the world but not to the extent that we need to have dialed up. Our action plans are also based on how we can dial our presence in Europe and UK specifically where again there is a large Gujarati-speaking diaspora. So that is the next level. ShemarooMe OTT has seen the first level of action in terms of garnering the Gujarati space in India and then gaining more on our Bollywood content then the next step would be presence in US and Canada.”
The brand intends to leverage its Hindi library to make its presence felt in the Hindi space.
“Remember we have a lot of strength in our classics; old Bollywood movies are our real forte and we will be dialing up our activity on that front. You will see us present in the Hindi belt also much stronger than what we are, in the next financial year,” he added.
All the channels from the group are free-to-air. Shemaroo TV is more male oriented channel focusing largely around mythos and crime shows. Shemaroo Umang caters to a typical GEC female audience.
Shemaroo Umang’s first original show ‘Kismat ki Lakiro Se’ was launched a month and a half back, while a second show will be out by end of November 2022. More originals are in the pipeline. The shows that have been launched are showing good traction in the focus markets in the Hindi belt, according to the COO.
Chakravarty adds, “Focus will now be on growing ad revenues because both are free dish channels. Our next trust area in both these channels will be to dial up the content pipeline making more original shows and ramping our ad revenue. They are already doing well but there is scope to do much more going forward.”
Shemaroo’s Marathi channel does not have any original shows yet. New content is expected to come in by the end of December 2022 or January 2023, alongside hiring of professionals.
“Our goal is to become profitable in the entire broadcast business by 2023-24; not just profitable but also generate cash and we are well and truly on that journey,” reveals Chakravarty.
With new content across channels, non-FCT selling like branded content and advertiser-funded content will also get a boost, he explains.
The brand is set to make a few announcements to commemorate its 60th anniversary, the spokesperson said. Among initiatives this year were several in the Web 3.0 space including the launch of Shemaroo Theatre in Decentraland Metaverse.
“There is a line of communications coming up and I would not want to steal the thunder from our marketing team. A lot of announcements in the coming month as we celebrate our 60th year are a lot of ‘firsts’,” said Chakravarty.
He added, “One of the future changes you will see, the one we have already embarked on, is to work upon the Shemaroo brand and make it more young. The brand has undergone change. In the last one and a half years, we have done a brand refresh. It’s a very young, energetic, youthful and vibrant brand right now; we need to do a lot of work to take it to consumers. How Shemaroo has pivoted from a legacy B2B content aggregating brand to a more young, energetic fresh B2C brand – that is the journey we have started upon.”
The company is also keen to strengthen its professional management as it celebrates its diamond jubilee. Several new hires have already been announced in 2022.