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A still from 'Epicenter: 24 hours in Wuhan' on DocuBay
A still from 'Epicenter: 24 hours in Wuhan' on DocuBay

Virus stories prove to be stranger than fiction for content creators

  • Globally and nationally, content producers always look for topics that are relevant and resonate with the audience
  • Disney+ Hotstar service in India already comes with an entire section called Coronavirus Crisis

NEW DELHI : The covid-19 crisis may be far from over with the lockdown extended till 3 May, but content creators across film, television, web and music platforms are taking the opportunity to dish out stories on the calamity the human race is facing.

Leading the pack is Discovery network with Coronavirus: The Silent Killer, a documentary listed last month, and Pandemic: Covid-19, a one-hour special, which premieres this week. DocuBay, a video-on-demand documentary platform owned by IN10 Media Network, is also out with Epicenter: 24 Hours in Wuhan, a 50-minute feature on how the Chinese fought the outbreak.

“We will definitely be seeing a lot of content around covid-19. Evidently there is an interest in this particular topic or theme as the outbreak has had a global impact," said D. Girish, vice-president, strategy, DocuBay.

The Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association has seen film producers rushing in to register corona-based film titles such as Corona Pyaar Hai and Deadly Corona. according to reports.

Globally and nationally, content producers always look for topics that are relevant and resonate with the audience, Girish said. “In case of the pandemic, the audience will be keener to watch the impact on humanity. At DocuBay, our priority has always been to showcase factual content from various parts of the world that people care about and want to know about. We understand this is a sensitive topic, a lot of people are being impacted by it, even in the post-corona world order. Introspection will be needed about what is happening and that’s where documentaries will add value and carry a long shelf-life," he said.

To leverage the topical nature of the crisis, the recently launched Disney+ Hotstar service in India has an entire section dedicated to the pandemic, Coronavirus Crisis, consisting mainly of news articles across languages related to the pandemic, such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s addresses to the nation, a blow-by-blow account of the increase in the number of cases and deaths, Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s message to people to stay indoors, social distancing and the challenges faced by farmers and daily wager earners amid the lockdown.

Swedish audio streaming service Spotify, too, has recognised the interest in covid-related news and put together a covid-19 hub, or a collection of podcasts from platforms such as CNN, BBC World, and ABC News. Podcasts such as Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction (CNN), Coronavirus Global Update (BBC), and Don’t Touch Your Face (Foreign Policy), besides American digital media company Gimlet’s show Science Vs which also has a few episodes on the covid-19 outbreak have been trending on the service.

“The rapid spread of covid-19 has become the defining global health crisis of our time. Seemingly overnight, the virus has changed our lives and the way we interact within our communities. There is obviously very high level of interest from audiences across genres. What is interesting is that there’s a lot of information about the pandemic, but it is fragmented and highly diffused, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction," said Sai Abishek, director, content, factual and lifestyle entertainment, South Asia, Discovery. For brands such as Discovery, the job is to go deep into the subject and provide insights through expert commentary, said Abishek.

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