The ‘Race to Ace’ on the Indian Web – Part 2: Where Do The Indian Platforms Stand?
Introducing the Indian Players:
The Web Entertainment Industry in India is growing at an extremely fast pace. There are a number of Indian Players dominating the market – both, free and paid subscription-based. Let’s get introduced to our country’s platforms – you’ll definitely find some great content to watch here.
- The Viral Fever (TVF):
One of the earliest arrivals to the digital entertainment scene in India. TVF’s repertoire includes popular series like Permanent Roommates, TVF Pitchers, TVF Bachelors, TVF Tripling, Yeh Meri Family, etc. Other channels by TVF includes The Screen Patti, Girliyapa (known for PA-Gals), The Timeliners (known for College Romance, The Aam Aadmi Family, etc.), the infotainment Funda Curry, and the Tamil TVF Machi.
- Pocket Aces:
Pocket Aces is a digital entertainment company with four brands under its umbrella – Dice Media, FilterCopy, Gobble, and Loco. Dice Media is the web series brand, with shows like Little Things, What The Folks, and Adulting in its collection.
ALTBalaji by Balaji Telefilms is one of the subscription based platform in India, with original web series, such as Romil & Jugal, The Test Case, Ragini MMS: Returns, Bose: Dead/Alive, Home, Broken, etc..
ZEE5 by Zee Entertainment Enterprises is another subscription based platform, with various wb series, including Table No. 5, The Story, Liftman, Akoori, Lockdown, Karenjit Kaur, etc.
Hotstar gained attention after acquired rights to stream IPL, Kabaddi League, and English Premier League, as well as HBO’s Game of Thrones and Westworld. Hotstar Originals include Tanhaiyan, The Fanatics, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai Take 2, Better Life Foundation Season 2, among others.
Arré has a collection of web series, audio series, documentaries, and other entertaining videos, with popular originals like I Don’t Watch TV, A.I.SHA – My Virtual Girlfriend, Official Chukyagiri and Official CEOgiri, etc.
SonyLIV by Sony Pictures Networks India, has originals such as #LoveBytes, and the recent The Good Vibes (with Legrand).
- Viu India:
Viu India is an OTT platform with a collection of original web series, including Truth or Tamanna, Memories. Social, and Banned.
Voot, the digital arm of Viacom18, has a collection of original web series like Chinese Bhasad, Shaadi Boys, It’s Not That Simple, Untag, etc.
- Eros Now:
Eros Now is the Indian platform of Eros International, with a library of thousands of films and music tracks. Eros Now Originals include Salute Siachen and the recent, Side Hero.
- The Zoom Studios:
The Zoom Studios joined the game very recently. So far, they have 3 original web series – Reunion, Ready 2 Mingle, and Imperfect.
- VB on the Web:
VB on the Web is the filmmaker Vikram Bhatt’s channel. Original web series include Gehraiyaan, Hadh, Maaya, Zakhmi, Zindabaad, among others.
- MX Player:
Acquired by The Times Group, MX Player is the latest to join the field and plans to put out 20 web series within its first year. Its first Hindi original, Yeh Dil Crazy, was released recently.
Facing the Heat:
While Netflix and Amazon were battling out their international war in the streets of India, the numerous Indian players, both free and subscription-based, were not lagging behind either.
One unfortunate effect that Netflix’s Sacred Games had was the eclipsing of Indian channels. TVF’s Yeh Meri Family released around the same time as Sacred Games. While it gained some attention and positive reviews, most of the eyes were on Netflix. The Indian channels are still facing the heat from the global giants.
The Power Move of Acquisitions – A Major Threat:
Although Indian platforms have cheaper subscription compared to International ones, they lose the battle for ‘content.’ The amount of content that they have is mainly local, and like an ant compared to Netflix’s Elephant.
Netflix has a strategy of acquiring content from different countries. Netflix acquired Ghoul, and also Dice Media’s Little Things for its second season, and has entered into a multi-show long-term partnership with Dice Media’s parent Pocket Aces. It is also acquiring several films for exclusive streaming rights on the platform
The Times Group acquired MX Player for a whopping 1000 crores (!), with a plan to bring original content and streaming to the app.
The Collection of Content on Indian Platforms: Is It Enough?
As listed above, the Indian platforms do have a huge collection of original content. But when it comes to International Platforms, even their combined collection of original content would probably fall short. Netflix and Amazon Prime’s acquisition strategy has tremendously contributed to their growing collection.
The Indian Platforms are doing their best to churn out content rich in both quality and quantity, but there is one major question that is to be asked when it comes to the survival of such platforms in the long term: Is it Enough?
Wait and Watch (or binge-watch):
The Indian market is far from reaching its highest points. With low cost 4G service, high-speed Wi-Fi, Smartphones, the scenario will only get better. Due to this ongoing struggle, there will be a constant growth in both quality and quantity of content created for the Indian audience.
We can only sit and watch out (and binge-watch) what comes out next in this war to win over the hearts and mobile screens of India.