There used to be a time when the entire family sat together to watch different shows, from fantasy drama ‘Chandrakanta’ to women-centric shows like ‘Shanti’, television holds an important place in our life.
But with OTT we have freedom to consume the content at any time and there are huge options on it.
With the rising popularity of OTT platforms, the television industry is strategically working to keep the viewer base intact. The overall television viewership remains stable as per BARC India, week 28, 2021 reported 937 billion viewing minutes.
In the last few years there has been a massive growth in terms of content and visualisation for television shows. The concepts are more progressive in nature and show makers have tried to highlight issues which have been either a taboo or have been perceived in a certain way for years.
Says Gul Khan, producer, director and writer: “The viewers of today’s time have choices now and with growing technology they have multiple options. With the digital era, everything is possible with a click of a button. We as producers try to match up with the viewer’s evolving mind and try to give them what they want to see.”
She adds on further saying: “For us, content and picturisation holds a lot of value. OTT on the other hand has advantages of giving a variety of content within a stipulated time frame of a series or in the form of a 120-minute movie, whereas television shows run mostly five days a week showing 20 minutes of content each day. Audience perceives both television and OTT differently. While I won’t deny that OTT has made its mark in a short period, television shows have established themselves for a long time.”
So we can say that television shows have still made their place and it can be seen with the popularity of daily soaps like ‘Anupamaa’ and ‘Imlie’. While television has been for a good long time and with changing phases the content has changed as per viewers’ interest. Unique, bold, unexplored concepts have now been ruling the charts. On the other hand OTT has also picked up well but still the audiences for both are different.
As explains, Yash A. Patnaik, producer of shows like ‘Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi’ and ‘Sadda Haq’: “Television and OTT audiences are very different. Television audiences are more settled and expect a daily dose of their appointment content, primarily woven around families and familiar characters and conflicts. Whereas, OTT audiences are more evolved and expect more experimental and disruptive stories, characters and plots. OTT is certainly a big threat for television in the long run unless television upgrades its content and scale. The biggest handicap of television is its rating system which influences its content regressively. There should be different currency for different content.”
Thus despite the fact that OTT is posing a threat to television shows still when it comes to watching shows with family; no one can beat popular family dramas especially in far-flung areas.
Director Ashish Shrivastav of ‘Tera Mera Saath Rahe’, says though OTT has a variety of content but television has evolved and is evolving too. “OTT is mainly targeting adults but television is a mass medium with more of a family audience watching it together. The concepts of daily soaps are progressive these days. From thriller to extra marital affairs to extreme revenge all is shown in them.”
Despite the fact that OTT has gained a lot of popularity during the pandemic specially when the shooting for various shows stopped, directors and producers still feel that it is not going to affect their TRPs much.
Producer Sanjay Kohli, ‘Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai’, talks about the concept and says television has a very loyal audience, and nothing can ever beat it. “I agree OTT has become popular of late, especially because of the lockdown. When the shoots were stopped the viewers were glued to OTT because it had a plethora of content available. Television serials had a limited bank of episodes and since OTT has short format of everything, they don’t need a bank as such. We were ahead of it as we had a huge bank and no break.”
But how are these daily soaps trying to compete with the web shows, he shares: “Since OTT has become so popular now, I think these serials are also trying to make more innovative content though not on the same lines as the content on OTT. We try to bring in twists and turns in the show which are unexpected but relatable at the same time.”
So whatever be the scenario, television shows are still managing to make their place within the audience.
–By Ila Sankrityayan