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NEW DELHI: Tamil film Anel Meley Panithuli, starring Andreah Jeremiah directed by Anand Kaiser, will stream on SonyLIV. It is an adaptation of CS Chellappa’s eponymous novel, and revolves around Jallikattu, the traditional bull-taming sport in Tamil Nadu.

Like other foreign and local streaming services, SonyLIV has been building on its regional content library and recently premiered Tamil festival favourite Thaen. Another Tamil film Nasir directed by Arun Karthick and starring Koumarane Valavane, Yasmin Rahman, Sudha Ranganathan and Sabari had also premiered on the platform last week. 

Media experts agree that video streaming services will have to continue to focus on original content across vernacular languages if they wish to penetrate deeper into the Indian heartland.

According to a December 2020 media and entertainment report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) along with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), 35-40% of consumption of OTT services is in local languages. It said that streaming services have tripled original content in Indian languages between 2018 and 2020 which stood at 1,400-1,800 hours per annum in 2020.

While foreign services like Netflix and Amazon are dabbling in Tamil, Telugu and other regional language originals, homegrown OTT service ZEE5 released almost two originals per month across Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali and Kannada in the past few months. Disney+ Hotstar too is venturing into regional content with the premiere of films meant for theatres.

Plus, there has been consolidation and advent of language-focused services such as Hoichoi (Bengali), aha Video (Telugu) or Letsflix (Marathi). The focus on regional languages makes sense given that the share of rural India had grown 23% to make up 52% of all Internet users in the country by March 2020, according to the report.

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