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Regional content: Streaming platforms face crossroads

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In Short:

The Indian OTT market is slowly shifting focus towards regional language content, driven by the success of films dubbed into Hindi. Top names are not yet signing up for streaming originals, but platforms are investing more in regional programming. Despite competition and limited digital advertising, success stories like MasterChef India in Tamil and Telugu, and shows like Save The Tigers in Telugu are emerging.

Revolutionizing Indian OTT Market: A Shift Towards Regional Language Content

In the ever-evolving world of Indian OTT platforms, a significant change is on the horizon. While the acquisition of popular Tamil and Telugu films remains a key focus, a notable shift towards **regional language originals** is slowly making its way into the spotlight. Industry experts suggest that this shift may take some time to fully manifest, given the current plateau in subscriptions and advertising and the continued dominance of traditional TV and theatrical mediums in these markets.

The Evolution Across Languages

According to a report by media consulting firm Ormax, the Indian OTT market is undergoing different stages of evolution across various languages. The **Hindi market** is leading the pack, being at least three to four years ahead in the product life cycle compared to the southern languages.

Growing Appetite for Regional Content

While the number of subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) web series released in Hindi surpasses that of all four southern languages combined, there’s a noticeable shift in the realm of **south Indian** markets. Fueled by a strong movie-going culture, these markets are now witnessing a surge in **regional film content** on OTT platforms, paving the way for a new era of storytelling.

Industry Insights and Challenges

Niyati Merchant, co-founder and COO at Arré, highlights the **investment in regional content** by OTT platforms. Despite some hesitance within the talent ecosystem in the south, the changing mindset towards **pan-India acceptance** is slowly gaining ground, driven by the success of dubbed southern films in Hindi.

While top names in the industry may take a year or two to fully embrace streaming originals, the intent is unmistakably present among platforms, fostering a competitive landscape amid subdued OTT subscriptions and advertising.

Success Stories in the South

Platforms like ZEE5 India and Disney+ Hotstar are leading the charge in the regional originals market, launching a diverse range of shows to cater to the growing audience appetite. Shows like Save The Tigers, KKK, and Abar Proloy have emerged as success stories, showcasing the immense potential of regional language content.

Embracing Language Agnostic Content

As Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer at ZEE5 India, rightly puts it, quality content transcends language barriers and always finds its audience. With the reach of OTT platforms expanding exponentially, the focus on localization and marketing initiatives is proving to be a game-changer in the evolving landscape of Indian entertainment.

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