Regional language video streaming platforms are said to level up their game with large-budget shows because their target audience, families who watch web content on large screen TVs.
These platforms specialise in language-specific content in Bengali, Punjabi and Marathi and among others.
Even though they don’t have big markets like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other giants, the over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Neestream (Malayalam), Planet Marathi, Chaupal OTT (Punjabi) and Hoichoi (Bengali) are looking to double the investment and content slates in 2022.
Especially due to the pandemic last year, many of the platforms witnessed a triple fold increase in the viewership rate that led to them garnering a significant audience base.
To retain the viewership, these platforms are planning to include more films and shows across genres. Some even plan to diversify their content library to other languages besides their core language.
Hoichoi, a Bengali streaming service, plans to double its content budget in 2022. They are aiming to add 32 original shows, in which at least 10 shows will be locally created in Bangladesh. They are also going to directly premiere 10 movies on their platform, after theatres and before television.
Young people of Gen Z and Millennial generations are quick to switch to these platforms. To gain traction among older age groups, the 35-60 age groups, connected TV sets have helped these platforms.
On content and technology, niche OTT services currently spend around Rs. 50 crore a year. The wealth that lies with giant platforms cannot be matched with this gap. Since many of these platforms are backed by local film producers or broadcasters, this gives them the expertise in understanding a particular language market and its nuances.
In an interview given to the Mint by the head of Malayalam language-focused OTT, Neestream Charles George told that regional OTTs were more focused on providing regional viewers with good quality vernacular content rather than viewing themselves as competition to big foreign players.
He also spoke on behalf of the numerous films with art value that doesn’t get space in the foreign screenplays and technicalities of production. The much-acclaimed Malayalam movie, The Great Indian Kitchen was streamed this year on the platform.