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NEW DELHI : Disney+ Hotstar has started streaming American mystery comedy Only Murders in the Building this week. The series, created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman, consisting of ten episodes, premiered on 31 August on Hulu. The plot follows three strangers, played by Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez, who share an obsession with a true crime podcast.

To be sure, foreign language fare including American films, television shows and programming in Turkish, German and Korean languages, are emerging as a big draw on over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services, making up as much as 30% of overall viewership, according to senior executives at several of these platforms.

While such international content finds ready takers among young urban Indians in the metros, those in small towns benefit from their dubbed versions in both Hindi and regional languages.

Netflix’s Extraction and The Kissing Booth have been popular in Hindi and Tamil as have Amazon’s The Boys, The Tomorrow War, Wonder Woman and Parasite. Walt Disney, too, has decided to tap smaller towns by making Disney+ (including Marvel) content available even on its cheaper price plans in India to expand reach.

While a handful of niche, foreign language TV channels and torrent websites on the Internet had introduced Indians to international content earlier, OTT platforms have helped improve ease of access. 

While metro audiences are over-saturated with the discovery of such international content on OTT, small towns have recently started acquiring a taste for what may be considered cool, and is part of social media chatter. While TV had laid the foundation for international programming, OTT has the luxury of talking to users individually and customizing recommendations with artificial intelligence and machine learning. Covid has also ensured people are exposed to a lot more things on the phone, given that several large families do not have multiple TV sets.

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