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Disney+ Hotstar led the viewership of Hindi language OTT originals in India in the first half of 2022, according to a report by media consulting firm Ormax. The platform streamed five out of the top 10 most-watched original shows.

Disney+Hotstar’s Ajay Devgn starrer Rudra: The Edge of Darkness (35.2 million views) is ranked number one show across platforms, followed by the third season of Aashram at 34.3 million views on MX Player and the second season of Panchayat with 29.6 million views on Amazon Prime Video. A Thursday (25.5 million) and Moon Knight (23.4 million), both on Hotstar, are the most watched original film and international series in the six-month period. 

However, Amazon’s Panchayat is the most liked show in the time frame considered followed by SonyLIV’s Rocket Boys, said the report. Ormax is a tracking, testing and analytics-led consulting firm for television and streaming services, among others.

The viewership is estimated using primary research conducted among audience across India by Ormax every week. Viewership estimates represent the number of people who watched the show (at least one full episode) or film (at least 30 minutes). It does not represent the number of accounts used for watching the same, so three members of a family, or two friends, watching on the same account are considered as unique audience -- means they are counted separately. The audience remains unduplicated and if an audience member watches episodes spread over multiple weeks, he\she is still counted only once.

Interestingly, while stars like Ajay Devgn and Bobby Deol may have drawn audiences to shows like Rudra and Aashram respectively, other top rankers like Panchayat come with little star value but strong storytelling. “Presence of stars definitely helps a property get initial audience on streaming platforms, though it doesn’t guarantee viewership beyond the first week if the content is not good. Top film stars have the potential to drive new subscriptions, as their shows and films invariably carry tent pole value. From a marketing perspective, these properties give the platform visibility in the wider audience, especially outside the metros," Shailesh Kapoor, founder and CEO, Ormax Media had told Mint in an earlier interview.

Thrillers and human dramas such as The Great Indian Murder (23 million), Human (19.6 million), Masoom (16.4 million) and Escaype Live (16.1 million) are other Hotstar Hindi originals part of the top 10 list.

Lock Upp, the reality show hosted by Kangana Ranaut, that streamed on MX Player and ALTBalaji, also finds a mention, with 21.2 million views.

As far as direct-to-digital films go, Yami Gautam’s A Thursday (25.5 million) on Hotstar tops the list, followed by Karan Johar’s Gehraiyaan (22.3 million) on Amazon Prime Video.

Others on the list are -- Hotstar’s Kaun Pravin Tambe?, a biographical sports drama on the cricketer which got 20.2 million views, Vidya Balan-starrer Jalsa (13.9 million) on Prime Video, Rishi Kapoor’s Sharmaji Namkeen (12.7 million) on Prime Video, Abhishek Bachchan-starrer Dasvi (10.4 million) on Netflix, Forensic (8.6 million) on ZEE5, Anil Kapoor’s Thar (7.8 million) on Netflix, Shah Rukh Khan’s production Love Hostel (7.5 million) on ZEE5 and Taapsee Pannu-starrer Looop Lapeta (5.7 million) on Netflix.

Hotstar also leads the list of most viewed international originals that are action and superhero shows with Moon Knight (23.4 million) and Ms Marvel (16.7 million). These two are followed by the fourth season of Stranger Things (15.8 million) on Netflix, the third season of The Boys (9.6 million) on Prime Video and Korean drama All Of Us Are Dead (7.8 million) on Netflix. “Hotstar has the advantage of a huge international movie catalogue from Disney, including Marvel, with which there is always an opportunity for dubbing. In the coming months, it will also go aggressive on its own (Indian) original slate which will raise overall cost of production in the industry," Karan Taurani, senior vice-president at Elara Capital Ltd told Mint.

As far as buzz, or a score that measures percentage of audience who recalled the show or film unaided, when asked to recall upcoming titles goes, Amazon’s Panchayat topped the list, followed by Hotstar’s Rudra and MX Player’s Aashram. Known franchises took five of the top 10 spots, Ormax pointed out, across platforms. Gehraiyaan was the direct-to-OTT film with the maximum buzz in the first six months, more than twice any other film while Netflix’s Stranger Things topped the list in the international category, recording even higher buzz than all Hindi series except Panchayat and Rudra.

Panchayat was the most liked Hindi show in these six months, and ranks number six in Ormax’s all-time list, which is headed by another Prime Video original, The Family Man (season two). SonyLIV’s Rocket Boys and Gullak (season three) take the next two spots on the list for January to June 2022, followed by Hotstar’s Rudra and Human. A Thursday and Kaun Pravin Tambe, both on the Walt Disney-owned platform, are the most liked Hindi films in this period. Stranger Things (season four), that leads the international category, is the second most-liked international show till date after Money Heist (seasons four and five).

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