Interview with V R Films & Studios Ltd
No other OTT platform has the infrastructure that we have created in terms of localisation and acquisition of content, emphasizes Manish Dutt, Managing Director, V R Films & Studios Ltd.
What is your outlook on the Indian media and entertainment sector, particularly the burgeoning OTT video service space? What emerging trends have you witnessed among consumers post-pandemic?
The Indian media and entertainment (ME) industry is a sunrise sector for the economy and is making significant strides. Proving its resilience to the world, the Indian ME industry is on the cusp of a strong phase of growth, backed by rising consumer demand and improving advertising revenue. According to a FICCI-EY report, the advertising to GDP ratio is expected to reach 0.4 per cent by 2025 from 0.38 per cent in 2019. Over 28 million Indians, up from 10.5 million in 2019, paid for 53 million OTT subscriptions in 2020, leading to a 49 per cent growth in digital subscription revenues. The growth was led largely by Disney+Hotstar which put the IPL behind a pay wall during the year, increased content investments by Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and launch of several regional language products.
In addition, 284 million Indians consumed content which came bundled with their data plans. According to an EY report, the Indian media and entertainment sector stood at Rs 1.38 trillion (USD 18 billion) in 2020 and is estimated at Rs 1.79 trillion (USD 24 billion) in 2021. Further, it is projected to grow to Rs 2.23 trillion (USD 29 billion) by 2023 due to acceleration of digital adoption among users across geographies. The market is projected to increase at a CAGR of 17 per cent between 2020 and 2023. In FY20, digital and online added revenue stood at Rs 26 billion in the ME sector and their contribution to the sector increased to 23 per cent in 2020 from 16 per cent in 2019.
India’s subscription revenue is projected to reach Rs 940 billion (USD 13.34 billion) in 2023, from Rs 631 billion (USD 8.95 billion) in 2020. Regional content has grown by 60 per cent with Hindi and Tamil languages driving the growth followed by Gujarati, Punjabi, etc. Keeping the above growth pattern you can gauge the size the localisation industry would leap to in the next 3-5 years. Maximum content provided is expected to be localised in various Indian languages to acquire maximum reach. Localisation alone can be expected to jump from approximately Rs 100 crore to Rs 350-400 crore or more. In the last two years, audience preference has shifted from theatres and TV to the OTT platforms.
They are spoilt for choice and find it very convenient and refreshing to view content at their convenience in the confines and comfort of their home. Theatres had limited content, time restrictions and economics had made it difficult for them to experiment consumer preferences. Though theatres will continue to exist, only features with larger than life viewing experience will pull in the audience. The rest will prefer to watch content on the OTT platforms. I don’t see any reversal in this preference in the near future. Definitely OTT is here to stay and will play a major role in the distribution and revenue model of entertainment.
Can you highlight the milestones which were achieved by your company in FY21 and H1FY22?
FY21 has been a year full of achievements:
1)We confirmed long-term association with Netflix, MX Player, Peo TV Sri Lanka and renewed our agreement with Discovery for localisation services.
2)We also confirmed our association with Amazon and MX Player to premiere our new features and library titles for OTT rights.
3)We worked with Tata Sky to whom we provided lot of library content.
4)We were the only dubbing facility in India working and providing service during the pandemic to Netflix and MX Player with our remote dubbing solutions.
5)We managed to earn more revenue in 2021 than in 2020 in spite the lockdown and the pandemic.
6)In FY22 we have developed and inaugurated 10 more state-of-the-art dubbing and mixing facilities and tied up with trusted network partners across India to increase dubbing service outputs.
7)With the launch of VROTT – Global ka Local, we have taken V R Films and Studios into the consumer market space.
These are huge milestones achieved by V R Films and Studios, especially in these challenging pandemic times. We are confident that with the growing economy, the company will soon be a leader in this space.
Can you shed some light on your recently launched OTT platform, VROTT? What measures have been taken for content acquisition and localisation over the last two quarters? What is your vision for the platform over the next 2-3 years?
VROTT was launched in India on January 29. Our ‘Talk in India’ initiative gets a start with VROTT, an Indian OTT platform which makes the world speak its local language. VROTT will premiere exclusive global content dubbed in local languages like Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. With regional internet penetration growing at over 50 per cent, localisation of content and OTT apps are going to play a key role in maximising content investments. All eyes will be on regional content to capture the next 100 million SVOD subscribers VROTT will focus to capture the emerging interior B and C markets by adding Malayalam, Kannada, Bangla, Marathi, Gujarati and Punjabi languages as well.
VROTT, a first for Indian content-loving audiences, will comprise:
1)Exclusive global 2,000+ hours’ premieres not available on any other platform in India.
2)Exclusive global content dubbed in local languages like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu along with original language, all with English subtitles.
3)Genres range from action, drama, crime, thrillers, suspense and horror across both movies and web series.
4)Localised content from countries like the UK, Hungary, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, The Baltic, Far East, Turkey, Korea, Russia, Australia, and many more.
5)Seamless watching experience online and offline.
6)Smart subscription plans with easy affordability.
VROTT app is now available for download on Play Store and Apple Store. It will soon be available on Android TV, Fire Stick and other platforms. In the last two quarters we have acquired and localised more than 2,500 hours of content never seen before in India on any platform. This is a huge achievement. No other platform has been launched with so much premium content. The acquisition process is on for the next financial year as well. We aim to achieve 10+ million downloads in the first 6-12 months with approximately 150-250 thousand subscribers. In the next 2-3 years we have a target of approximately 20-30+ million subscribers with 150 million downloads. No other OTT platform has the infrastructure that we have created in terms of localisation and acquisition of content. This combined with our marketing strategies will help us in terms of growth and reach in the next 2-3 years. VROTT is here to stay.
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