Streaming wars: Niche platforms champion regional flicks

  • While occasional picks from Punjabi or Marathi cinema find a spot on major platforms including ZEE5 and JioCinema, opportunities for smaller regional language films is limited to niche players.

Lata Jha
First Published21 Mar 2024, 05:41 PM IST
Major platforms are clearly prioritizing big-budget films, primarily in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.
Major platforms are clearly prioritizing big-budget films, primarily in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. (Photo: iStock)

New Delhi: With mainstream over-the-top (OTT) services prioritizing movies with a broader audience appeal, primarily in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu, niche local language platforms are stepping up to help smaller regional film industries, such as Bangla, Gujarati, and Marathi, find a place in the digital streaming landscape.

According to trade experts, Bollywood and the two dominant film industries down south lead viewership charts for most streaming services, leaving smaller regional films vying for nationwide attention. 

This trend has prompted smaller OTT platforms to seize the opportunity to carve out a niche by acquiring some of these films, albeit at lower rates.

“The top three or four platforms are not interested in looking at regional content, except in southern languages. In such a scenario, the ability to cater to specific dialects (by showcasing content made in less mainstream languages) works as a differentiating factor for some platforms,” said Akshay Bardapurkar, founder of Planet Marathi. 

While major players stay away from directly competing with language-specific OTT platforms, these niche platforms benefit from catering to an underserved diasporic population seeking content in their native language, Bardapurkar added.

A regional film producer, seeking anonymity, said major platforms are clearly prioritizing big-budget films, primarily in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. 

For instance, Netflix has premiered titles such as Shah Rukh Khan's Jawan and Dunki, Vijay's Leo, Mahesh Babu's Guntur Kaaram, and the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Animal. Additionally, the platform has acquired Pushpa 2, a sequel to Allu Arjun's Telugu blockbuster, alongside Vijay's Greatest Of All Time and Jr NTR's Devara.

Amazon Prime Video has also disclosed plans to premiere Shahid Kapoor's Ashwatthama - The Saga Continues, Tiger Shroff's Baaghi 4, and Ranveer Singh's Don 3 post theatrical release. Other titles include Ramcharan's Game Changer, Pawan Kalyan's Hari Hara Veera Mallu, and Suriya's Kanguva and Housefull 5.

While occasional picks from Punjabi or Marathi cinema find a spot on major platforms including ZEE5 and JioCinema, which also have their own film production arms, opportunities for smaller regional language films is limited to niche players.

“The bigger focus is always on content that appeals to a larger audience base. Languages such as Hindi, English, and regional languages with a larger speaking population, often get more attention because of their potential to draw in more viewers," Soumya Mukherjee, chief operating officer of Bengali streaming service hoichoi, said. 

"OTT platforms may also base their decision-making process on viewer preference and consumption patterns. For instance, if data indicates that subscribers prefer content in a particular language, the platform may aim to cater to that preference,” he added. 

According to independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai, the popularity of Tamil and Telugu cinema stems from the success of dubbed Hindi versions, which appeal to audiences in North India. 

Similarly, Hindi films dubbed into southern languages also gain traction on OTT platforms, he added. “Punjabi or Marathi cinema, on the other hand, is not viewed as much in south India, which is a bigger market that all players are tapping into.” 

Catch all the Industry News, Banking News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.MoreLess
First Published:21 Mar 2024, 05:41 PM IST
HomeIndustryStreaming wars: Niche platforms champion regional flicks

Most Active Stocks

Indian Oil Corporation

166.90
03:58 PM | 12 JUL 2024
-7.6 (-4.36%)

Tata Steel

168.70
03:58 PM | 12 JUL 2024
-0.3 (-0.18%)

Bharat Electronics

333.30
03:59 PM | 12 JUL 2024
-2.25 (-0.67%)

Wipro

560.05
03:56 PM | 12 JUL 2024
25.7 (4.81%)
More Active Stocks

Market Snapshot

  • Top Gainers
  • Top Losers
  • 52 Week High

KPIT Technologies

1,864.00
03:57 PM | 12 JUL 2024
154.25 (9.02%)

Inox Wind

171.90
03:59 PM | 12 JUL 2024
13.85 (8.76%)

Zensar Technologies

768.20
03:29 PM | 12 JUL 2024
50.45 (7.03%)

Coforge

5,950.05
03:29 PM | 12 JUL 2024
386.65 (6.95%)
More from Top Gainers

Recommended For You

    More Recommendations

    Gold Prices

    • 24K
    • 22K
    Bangalore
    74,263.000.00
    Chennai
    74,699.000.00
    Delhi
    74,989.000.00
    Kolkata
    74,190.000.00

    Fuel Price

    • Petrol
    • Diesel
    Bangalore
    102.86/L0.00
    Chennai
    100.75/L0.00
    Kolkata
    104.95/L0.00
    New Delhi
    94.72/L0.00
    OPEN IN APP
    HomeMarketsloanPremiumMint Shorts