It’s 2018 and I don’t think if there’s any other better time than talking about the ever-booming digital industry that we Indians were devoid of for a very long time. The concept of TV series were confined to a LED TV in our halls. Of course, we Indians aren’t proud of the content we are being offered with on TV. But, what do we do? We are all engrossed into the international content! Eventually, this concept has changed for better around the world with the digital players ( Amazon prime, Hotstar, Netflix )coming in. This happened quite a while ago there. They realized the scope of it and we know the result.
But, for how long are we going to be reliant on global content when we all know how beneficial it is for us? We have an actual proof of how Indians are naturally attracted to the digital market due to the content on our television sets. These OTT’s have a larger scope of benefits than we actually have determined. We have the platform, we have the audience, what are we waiting for then? It’s a trump card for all the independent filmmakers too! However, there are a few pros and cons to on how to deliver these content on an OTT (over the top) platforms. Let us discuss them here.
Independent films can earn too!
There is an unhealthy trend in our country. Art films and certain out of the box content will mostly not do well at the box office. Infact, sometimes there aren’t even producers to fund these kind of films. That’s when, people tend to make it independently out of passion for cinema. But, this isn’t commercially viable at all. Due to this, many people refrain themselves from taking such content to producers too and choose the commercial track. This time has changed for better now for sure. Let me tell you how.
An independent filmmaker knowing its commercial viability certainly targets only the awards. For this, one or two screenings may take place. Sexy Durga (2017) is an example. We got to realize that there are platforms that buy these films. All it takes is an approach. These platforms are thirsty for content like never before now. Sila Samayangalil (2018) and Lust stories (2018) are both films that have been bought by Netflix India. There are many such players that we are all familiar with. Hence, if one has a story to tell no matter how unconventional it is, the commercial viability is taken care of right now!
The target audience is set on its own!
Also, there’s a reason why making these films on the digital platform is better. The target audience here is readily defined and is quite easy to reach them. Imagine Sila Samayangalil being released in Theatres. It will definitely backfire as the audience is quite heterogeneous. But, when it is released on Netflix, we have a pre defined audience that are exposed to such content and at the same time that are on the search for contents like this on the internet. Doesn’t it make a fair deal? We obviously don’t have the B & C centres on these platforms.
There is a con too!
There’s a knack of producing digital content too. One might have to consider certain aspects of these platforms as well. The consumers on the internet are never devoid of content right now. It’s pretty much only a click away. People watch digital content on their mobiles & tablets. They might watch it in bus or a train. They watch it during their daily travel from their homes to offices in cabs. Hence, there’s a very odd bet of 50% chance that they might watch a certain content fully. Hence, in a pool of so much content, if at all they click upon one such content, it has to provide him/her what he/she expects of it. If it doesn’t, he/she will just come out of it at the fingertip. It isn’t like a theatre where once they are in, they have to watch it fully. Here, they are the controllers! So, one has to engage the consumer throughout the series or the film.
Every content can’t become digital!
This is where Lust stories (2018) succeeded. If any one of the 4 episodes had failed in engaging us, we would’ve closed it. In terms of making, each of these episodes had something in it for us. Though very simple in its budget and look, there was some kind of a magic and uniqueness in each of the episodes. I could owe it to the 4th wall break in the first episode.Or I could owe it to the final frame of the second episode. The film talked about something that we all know about or even heard of or even been a part of. But, some might not want to watch it on theatres due to certain restrictions. This is why it was made as a digital content.
Take Sila Samayangalil (2018) too. It also talked about a sensitive topic in a different way. Though this topic had been dealt in many films, there was a different perspective to it. We were educated by it and were in awe of it at the same time. I don’t think the filmmaker preached in it. Due to this different approach, it has been made as a digital content. This approach will not be accepted in theatres. These are some of the examples on deciding whether a content has to be made into a digital content or that of a feature film. A digital content has to offer an experience to the viewer no matter what.
There’s another benefit on digital content. When one makes films for theatres, one might have to consider detailing to the core. Very minute mistakes appear bigger on the theatre screens. These include the production design glitches, VFX glitches and many more. When viewed on a comparatively smaller screen, these don’t become visible to the eyes. On the whole, if one has a story to tell, an experience to offer for the viewer, no matter how small the target audience is, it is commercially viable at this point of time.