Even though steaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are shaping the way Indians watch their favorite shows, an Indian company is challenging them on its home turf.
Eros Now, the on-demand entertainment video service of Indian film company Eros International, currently hosts more local content that the two giants put together and generates close to 25 percent of Eros’ overall revenues.
The on-demand platform of Mumbai-based Eros International has already amassed a library of over 11,000 film titles in India, the biggest such share of OTT (over-the-top) movie content, according to a report in Quartz India. This year, the report said, Eros Now will spend at least $50 million on producing originals, from films to episodic content to short-film material, CEO of Eros Digital Rishika Lulla Singh told Quartz.
At the recently concluded Times National Awards for Marketing Excellence, Singh won the award for ‘Women Leadership in Industry.’ Under her leadership, the company said, its on-demand South Asian entertainment video service has tripled in growth and close to 25 percent of Eros’ overall revenues now comes from the digital platform.
The company now has 100 million subscribers. Of these, eight million are paid users, which the company plans to increase to 16 million by the end of March 2019, added the report.
“We’re conscious that there is a young India and then there’s India. You have to make sure that your content is catering to everyone. Only seven percent of our library is in English; 66 percent is in Hindi. Between 30 percent and 35 percent is regional,” Singh told Quartz.
With so much competition, Singh said, it’s the quality of their content that sets them apart.
“What we’re doing is what HBO did for America in terms of providing that quality of content,” she said. “What they did with ‘Game of Thrones’ changed the game completely. We’re not scared of experimenting or failing. We’ve canned a bunch of Web series because they were not up to the mark.”
And consistency is the key, she added.
“This country has seen many changes in terms of connectivity — of barely being 3G to jumping onto 4G. Things like demonetization have begun to address the payments issue. I think it’s just a case of who emerges and holds ground over the next few years,” Singh told the publication. “There’s a huge pie and there’s enough for everyone. Our USP is film and entertainment and that is where we sit strongest in terms of library sizes. Hotstar is very event-focused, and it has the HBO alliance. Voot is an extension of what’s happening on television, dressed up in a kid’s outfit. Our directions and sensibilities are completely different.”
Singh said their challenges include not being able to generate quality content quick enough.
“Digital consumers have an insatiable appetite,” she noted. “The challenge is how do you make someone feel full?”