As streaming war goes intense, OTT players are raising their game with original local language content to widen their reach among Indian audience.
"We are Netflix India and we are currently building our Hindi offerings," says Srishti Arya, Director - International Original Film, India, Netflix.
The focus is not on a particular genre or storytelling format but on all kinds of stories. "We tell the stories that we believe in and we feel should be heard," she says.
"We're trying to get the whole gamut, even underrepresented areas are a very strong focus for us," she adds. Netflix is currently working on a film on Parsi community, on ballet and on the Japanese concept of Hikikomori, where people withdraw from society.
But can stories of niches ever be for the mass market?
Arya says, the idea is to include every viewer. "Netflix should have something for every viewer, which gives us the liberty to be open and offer different stories on the platform."
What is also happening is with the rise of OTT platforms content is easily accessible, anywhere and anytime. Also, watching movies that was a family affair is now increasingly becoming a private experience. This allows users to try different genres and formats that they didn't watch earlier.
"We should not underestimate our viewers at all. Now, a great story can reach out to people even beyond the obvious audience, she says.
This year, Netflix released nine hindi films such as Love Per Square Foot, Lust Stories, Brij Mohan Amar Rahe, Rajma Chawal, Soni, Firebrand, 15th August, Music Teacher and Chopsticks.
The number of Internet users in Indian languages is expected to reach 536 million by 2021, according to the KPMG report 'India's Digital Future: Mass of niches'. It was 234 million in 2016, which means that nine out of 10 new users will access internet in an Indian language; hence it is important for OTT players to cater to this new target audience.
Netflix competes with Amazon Prime, Hotstar and ALTBalaji, among others in India.
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