In conversation with Media Samosa, Ridhima Lulla from Eros Now shares how the show must go on, despite the challenges with newer content, the relevance of data for a winning content strategy & the way forward.
Ridhima Lulla, Chief Content Officer, Eros Now, sheds light on the diverse content available on the platform, the need to staying motivated and positive amidst challenges, and the ongoing trends in the OTT spectrum.
What is the content strategy for the platform keeping in mind the changing consumer habits during the last few months? Which content hooks work best for the platform?
With the legacy studio & our experience into running content in the theatrical industry for so long, we have understood the pulse of our audience which gives us an edge in the industry. It is especially in terms of creativity, marketing & distribution. We continue to look at the most crucial aspect, which is data, knowing how the audiences have evolved on the OTT platforms.
Through our content strategy, we want to reflect that we cater to the mass market & multitude of people. We, not only want to stay on the top in India but also worldwide. With our acquisitions, the emergence of Eros Prime & getting into English content, with exploring as many other languages as possible, we aim to ensure that we have that presence across the globe. Similarly, we want to capture varied demographics & geographies in India
The viewership for our platform has increased to more than double during COVID-19. This might also mean that not just our loyal customers but also the TV audience are moving towards digital to try something different that reflects through our business side of things.
Since our content line-up caters to a wide TG, a lot of them have done well for us like the newly launched, ‘Flesh’, ‘A date Gone Wrong’ for the 15-24-year-olds, Metro park – Quarantine edition, etc.
We recently came across celebrity influencers such as Radhika Apte & Fatima coming together for the #NotForSale campaign for Flesh. What was the insight & rationale behind doing this?
For our marketing, we are trying to constantly reinvent ourselves. We don’t just want to adopt the traditional methods of marketing like the outdoors. It is about knowing your audience at the core of every strategy.
Speaking about the #NotForSale campaign, we chose some strong women who could be like a voice for other females who would like to talk about a show like this and would want to help on the issue. The insight behind the launch of Flesh came from an unfortunate personal experience from the team and the idea behind its marketing campaign was to be able to raise voices against the issue, & have conversations about it. This was fairly addressed & done by the influencers.
Please take us through the programming strategy at this time. How did the production halt impact your content line up?
We have various verticals on the platform- Eros Now Originals, digital films, Quickies, and other long & short format content with movies that might be acquired or in some cases created, produced, & co-produced by us capped with the launch of Eros Prime.
Every month, we aim to bring one flagship show. So, for the next 12 months, we intend to bring 12-14 flagship content pieces along with the ongoing shows & movies on the platform which will only increase with time.
With the lockdown, some of the challenges have increased for content production. How does the team deal with such situations & co-ordinate amongst each other during crises? Top 3 learnings & challenges faced at this time?
We have rolled out many originals during the COVID-period which had its own set of challenges. From writing to producing, everything was quite cleverly executed with interesting partners. For example- During Metropark, we followed all safety precautions while shooting & producing the show. All scenes from LA and India were intelligently shot & stitched together.
From communicating through technology to not being able to travel to specific places for meetings, there have been varied challenges. But discussing & strategic planning helps to alleviate issues with a positive mindset.
With other players in the market, how will Eros Now- the ott platform, have an edge over them?
We already have an edge and it is just about cultivating that. We want to be like the taste-makers and not followers which is quite visible through our content strategy. In India, we want to cater to Tier 2, 3 cities to Metro cities with a diverse range of content.
With 12000+ movies, over 100 upcoming, catering to 10+languages, we intend to create content for everybody. This approach differentiates & gives us an edge over the others.
Original & quality content seems to be popular amongst the viewers. What are your thoughts on this? How does Eros now plan to leverage this trend in the coming months?
With international players investing hugely into original content & with content creators eager to explore this format of storytelling, this trend will only rise. In India too, it will only get more relevant. We have been like pioneers in the industry as we started this format back in 2012. Moving forward, we aim to continue bringing more & more content through the platform.
The top 3 OTT content consumption patterns observed for your audience at this time?
- Short format, snackable content has worked well for us. When we first launched quickies, we saw a spike in the viewership across such videos especially the ones focussed on quirky, comic, and thriller-based relatable content for our younger audience.
- Another pattern is – content with a social message.
- People sometimes want something experimental which, sometimes, works well for the audiences.
Comedy, crime, crime thrillers, and drama genres work well. Mythology is also doing well on TV & digital, both.
We have to constantly find innovative ways to connect with people & continue to provide the type of content that is appreciated.
What will be the regional content strategy especially for tier 2, & tier 3 regions?
We will continue to showcase content in multiple languages. In terms of the strategy, we plan to acquire more interesting films to reach more & more possible people.
Hindi continues to be our main focus with progress on 8-10 languages as mentioned earlier.
How do you see the industry shaping up with the Unlock 2.0 in the post-COVID-19 world? Road to recovery and the plan for the platform.
All we see ahead is growth. People want to be entertained and watch more & more content. We look forward to bringing more such pieces as we aim to expand and move across verticals and segments of content with different languages.
Lastly, I would like to say that the show must go on. So, continue to lead, inspire, write, create & entertain, staying positive throughout the path. That’s all we can do in tandem with bringing new content in different ways for our people.