The silver lining for cinephiles with the current pandemic has to be the rise of new OTT platforms which have left folks spoilt for selections. Lionsgate Play, which began streaming in India nearly two years in the past, needs to set itself aside with its premium content material. Amit Dhanuka, the platform’s Executive Vice President, calls the high quality of its International content material that caters to the younger grownup viewers their platform’s USP. “We have been clear about what we want to be known for. The youth of our nation are our targets and our content ethos is action, adrenaline and edgy space. All our content compliments that,” says Amit who stresses how the idea of ‘app bundling’ is benefiting them. “Annual subscriptions for all the major platforms would cost around Rs 5000. I don’t think consumers have that share of the wallet. If OTT wants to reach the scale and size that television has achieved in India, bundling of apps is required to work with the value-conscious market.”
Apart from being the go-to platform for a number of worldwide content material, Lionsgate Play has additionally greenlit a number of originals. “When we started two years ago, we stuck to just English content. But we were keen on dropping new content every weekend for our consumers. Over the last year, we had 50-plus premieres and we also launched Indian language originals like Hiccups and Hookups, Jugaadistan and Feels Like Home. We have evolved over every quarter in the last two years,” says Amit. Coming again to app bundling and the way it works in favour of newer manufacturers, he says, “I think everything is a factor of pricing and the bundling offers better pricing for the consumers. Even if you are a small platform, if you are relevant in the market – and we have seen it in quite a few platforms recently – you will a pivotal role in the market.”
Indian shoppers have confirmed repeatedly how pricing and high quality have been their essential standards for selecting a platform and Amit agrees with it. “Our consumers are very keen about the kind of content they want to watch. They have shown that they can love both international as well as local-made content. Korean content’s rise in India is an example of that. When we put out films like John Wick and Moonfall, and international series, we have seen the audience gravitating towards them as much as they do with our Indian-made originals,” provides Amit who would not really feel that it’s going to slim their demography. “We thought we were urban-centric and we later realised consumption to be really good from outside the cities too. Tamil Nadu, for example, has been a great market and consumption outside Chennai and Coimbatore has also been good. Dubbing the international content across several regional languages has worked well in our favour.”
Interestingly, the dubbed variations have been apparently requested by followers of the Hollywood movies and English sequence that Lionsgate Play has in its arsenal. “We started getting comments requesting us to dub them into languages like Tamil and Telugu, and we picked up the clues. The dubbed versions brought in consumers and it has pushed us to the level of dubbing a film like John Wick into Bhojpuri,” concludes Amit.