Covid-hit Indian films find OTT favour among overseas audience

With a huge Indian diaspora in the US, the UK, UAE and multiple language affinities, there is a strong surge during new movie releases in these markets including for Bengali, Telugu, Punjabi, and Tamil titles

Lata Jha
Updated22 Apr 2022
‘83 made it to Netflix’s top 10 non-English films worldwide and found viewers in Africa, Kuwait, and other countries. @netflixindia
‘83 made it to Netflix’s top 10 non-English films worldwide and found viewers in Africa, Kuwait, and other countries. @netflixindia

Lata Jha

lata.j@htlive.com

Indian films that may not have managed to get wide theatrical releases either at home or abroad due to pandemic-led lockdowns over the last two years, are now finding an audience on over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platforms.

Sports drama ‘83 that had clocked 3.1 million hours of viewing at last count and made it to Netflix’s top 10 non-English films worldwide, found viewers in Africa, Kuwait, Sri Lanka and other countries after it premiered late March.

On ZEE5, Salman Khan-starrer Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai and Telugu action drama Bangarraju won eyeballs in Australia, US and UAE. Media experts said most users turned to OTT platforms in the absence of other forms of entertainment and the Indian diaspora tried to stay connected to their roots especially since they couldn’t travel home.

Some of these films saw their theatrical releases disrupted owing to different covid waves. While ’83 was released late December right before the third wave, Bangarraju saw only limited showcasing over the Pongal weekend in January when restrictions were being re-imposed. The world was still reeling under the impact of the second wave when Khan’s Radhe had released for Eid last year. “Movies drive strong traction for us in global markets across both viewership and subscriptions. With the huge diaspora in the US, UK, UAE and multiple language affinities, we see a strong surge during new movie releases in these markets including for Bengali, Telugu, Punjabi and Tamil titles,” Archana Anand, chief business officer, ZEE5 Global said.

Hindi and Punjabi films have driven strong spikes especially in Canada and Australia, while Malayalam films have done particularly well In the Middle East, apart from Bollywood releases and Tamil movies, Anand said. The network has seen titles like Radhe, Bob Biswas, Antim: The Final Truth, and Rashmi Rocket in Hindi, along with Bangarraju, Republic, Rang De, Vilangu, Valimai and Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana from its regional portfolio perform well across global markets.

“With lockdowns in place across countries during the pandemic, audiences turned to OTT platforms to meet their entertainment needs. For much of the Indian and South Asian diaspora, the inability to travel home during the period also saw them turning to OTT platforms as they felt an increased need to stay connected to their roots and language,” said Anand adding that the service saw a 60% uptick in new subscriptions over the pandemic thanks to new and old movie hits.

A senior executive at a streaming platform said OTT services have not only provided an additional method for exhibition of films, in both good times and bad, but are helping break many barriers in international markets through subtitles and dubbing.

Karan Taurani, senior vice-president at Elara Capital Ltd said challenges with global or overseas audiences largely arise from the fact that there has only been traction for big-ticket, star-driven Indian films in international markets so far. “The global audience is very selective so it is hard for many stories to travel. The process has begun with hard-hitting long-format Indian web shows though,” Taurani said.

Catch all the Industry News, Banking News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.MoreLess
HomeIndustryMediaCovid-hit Indian films find OTT favour among overseas audience

Most Active Stocks

Tata Steel

179.85
10:29 AM | 21 JUN 2024
-2.5 (-1.37%)

Bharat Electronics

305.00
10:27 AM | 21 JUN 2024
-7.05 (-2.26%)

ITC

419.60
10:28 AM | 21 JUN 2024
-3.75 (-0.89%)

Vedanta

469.95
10:29 AM | 21 JUN 2024
-0.3 (-0.06%)
More Active Stocks

Market Snapshot

  • Top Gainers
  • Top Losers
  • 52 Week High

Railtel Corporation Of India

476.20
10:27 AM | 21 JUN 2024
41.8 (9.62%)

Titagarh Rail Systems

1,584.25
10:29 AM | 21 JUN 2024
89.05 (5.96%)

Rail Vikas Nigam

409.70
10:28 AM | 21 JUN 2024
22.35 (5.77%)

Honasa Consumer

449.85
10:26 AM | 21 JUN 2024
23.5 (5.51%)
More from Top Gainers

Recommended For You

    More Recommendations

    Gold Prices

    • 24K
    • 22K
    Bangalore
    74,492.00959.00
    Chennai
    74,274.00164.00
    Delhi
    74,710.00816.00
    Kolkata
    74,856.001,323.00

    Fuel Price

    • Petrol
    • Diesel
    Bangalore
    102.92/L0.06
    Chennai
    100.85/L-0.13
    Kolkata
    103.94/L0.00
    New Delhi
    94.72/L0.00
    OPEN IN APP
    HomeMarketsloanPremiumGet App