Goafest 2022: OTT content is pushing the bar and breaking the rigid structures
Vikrant Massey, Ali Fazal, and Gautam Talwar discuss the freedom and nuances of creativity on OTT
May 06, 2022 12:04:00 PM | Article | Noel D'Souza
Day two of Goafest 2022 saw actors Vikrant Massey and Ali Fazal share their views with Gautam Talwar, chief content officer, MX Player, on the topic of ‘OTT Superpower- Freedom and Nuances of Creativity’.
The session was moderated by Atika Farooqui, anchor and creative director.
The rise and perseverance of OTT
Massey kicked off the session by stating how OTT has given a chance for storytellers to showcase their talents.
“OTT in the last two years has not only given actors, but also storytellers an opportunity to go out there and explore their skill sets. An average OTT platform is catering to more than 150 countries. This has been a great opportunity for all content creators and storytellers to come out there and showcase their talents”, remarked Massey.
During the pandemic, Massey shared that he was able to connect with his audience through OTT platforms as he had over six releases during the pandemic across platforms.
Fazal shared, “We are a button away from rejection when it comes to OTT. Because right next door there is another show, which is critically acclaimed and we are competing with all different platforms. We have to pull up our socks but we are getting there.”
MX Player and the future of OTT content
Talwar said, “We need to reach a level of mass India and that is where we are at. As an ecosystem, we understand the thirty seconders, the thousand-hour television content, and a 120 format of a feature film very well. However, it's still a long learning curve. There is so much content we borrow from. We borrow from advertising, television, and film. Authenticity comes from the melting pot of these three ecosystems.”
Fazal remarked, “We are still trying to get out of this formula of seasons structure we are used to. Before OTT viewers were used to seasons. If there was an action film that did well the whole year would. This area is where OTT gets its freedom and autonomy by not sticking to rigid content structures.”
The essence of cinema shouldn't die
Talking about the importane of entertainment in India, Massey remarked, “Cinema has always been a part of our staple culture. The idea of any middle-class family saving their money to go to a movie at the end of the month is very stapled. The added advantage for OTT platforms today is that everything is interconnected through smart TVs. Consumption patterns have changed and the reach is massive for OTT. In India entertainment is important in our lives.”
Rules for different media
Fazal said, “Freedom can not be absolute. It is in the way you are telling that story within the framework and it comes with responsibility. There is a structure and a medium that allows for freedom.”
Talwar shared that content creators don’t start from a premise to tell a story because they have the freedom to tell it.
He explained, “No storyteller starts like that, they start telling a story for a reason. There is a kind of ecosystem developed for different mediums. OTT has democratised storytelling.”
“OTT has given access to different genres to the youth of our country and it hasn't been available to them until now. This is why there is a rise in demand”, said Talwar.
OTT content: An individual or family viewing experience
Talwar stated, “Most OTT content is mobile viewing. We aren’t making shows for families specifically. We are creating content for pan India and cohorts like Ludhiana. India is a time rich, money poor country. We are aiming to roll out premium long-form content for 18 to 22-year-old. Family viewing is a bit too far fetched in my view because of the behaviour patterns of viewers.”
OTT changed the game of how gender is perceived
Signing off, Massey concluded, "Cinema or any form of storytelling is just an extension of the world we are living in. Whether you talk about a conventional hero who needs to have biceps or a hero that emotes toxic masculinity. That is why we see stories talking about equality, unconventional masculinity, and sensitive men. Narratives are changing because we are trying to raise our children differently."