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Business News/ News / India/  Streaming smells blood in shark waters

Streaming smells blood in shark waters

Telugu OTT service Aha has floated Nenu Super Woman for female entrepreneurs, while Amazon Prime has launched a series called Mission Start Ab

SonyLIV debuted Shark Tank in India, a franchise of the American reality show, in December 2021.Premium
SonyLIV debuted Shark Tank in India, a franchise of the American reality show, in December 2021.

NEW DELHI : The success of Shark Tank India on SonyLIV has triggered a rush for business reality shows by other streaming services as well, centred around small-town entrepreneurship and the concept of startups.

Telugu over-the-top (OTT) service Aha has floated Nenu Super Woman for female entrepreneurs, while Amazon Prime has launched a series called Mission Start Ab. Industry executives say these shows target the aspirational, new-age India looking to explore unconventional career choices and find resonance across demographics, including families.

SonyLIV, the video streaming platform from Sony Pictures Networks India, debuted Shark Tank in India, a franchise of the American reality show, in December 2021.

Shark Tank India has been a very successful franchise for us and also an interesting journey to see how it has reached out to audiences, beyond metros Delhi, Mumbai and Gurugram, in tier-2 and -3 towns and become so accessible to not just young techies but also, say, housewives," said Saugata Mukherjee, head of content, SonyLIV.

Business reality shows like these have thrown up opportunities for small-town entrepreneurs who may not belong to English-speaking India, weren’t born with silver spoons, and haven’t gone to B-schools but have aspirations to make it big, Mukherjee added. While the target audience remains young, ranging from people in their 20s to 40s, families, too, have taken to the show in a big way. However, given that the show is an adaptation of an international format, the team has to do a rigorous job of due diligence and is strict in vetting those who apply, Mukherjee said.

The surge in startups across India enabled by the rise of technology professionals and venture capital funds may have been missed out in some parts of middle India, said Vaibhav Modi, founder-director at Victor Tango Entertainment, which is in the process of developing a slate of business reality shows.

“These shows capture that latent gap and empower people who may not have gone to premier management or engineering colleges, although ticket sizes (in terms of funding) are smaller," Modi said. The business reality show space has already evolved in the West with shows like Dragons’ Den, The Profit and The Apprentice. That something like Shark Tank has found acceptance on an on-demand service like SonyLIV means that people have sought it out in their personal time, and that it’s not just catering to viewers interested in the business space, Modi pointed out.

Regardless of genre, reality shows across dance, music and business categories cash in on the idea of the underdog, industry experts point out. “Everyone loves to watch, support, and has an opinion (on what works). Plus, terms like startup are now part of everyday currency," Sandeep Goyal, an advertising veteran and the managing director of Rediffusion, said. Like other genres, business reality shows, too, are now drawing a reasonable amount of interest, bringing families together. Plus, irrespective of whether contestants eventually manage funding, even an appearance on the show gives them an entry into the funding ecosystem, he said.

During the period of lockdown and covid curbs, there was a greater emphasis on supporting local businesses and the local economy, Meghna Joshi, creative producer, series: non-fiction and films, Locomotive Global Media, said. “This shift in perspective not only impacted people’s outlook on life but also their interests. This was precisely the opportune moment for a show like Shark Tank to make its mark. However, the enduring appeal extends beyond the pandemic’s influence. These shows resonate with viewers as they showcase the journeys of ordinary individuals pursuing their dreams and transforming them into successful ventures. Such stories of resilience and triumph have the power to uplift viewers, instilling hope, and a sense of possibility," Joshi said.

Further, these shows offer practical business advice, insights into entrepreneurship, and valuable lessons on navigating the business world effectively, she added.

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Lata Jha
Lata Jha covers media and entertainment for Mint. She focuses on the film, television, video and audio streaming businesses. She is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. She can be found at the movies, when not writing about them.
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Published: 20 Aug 2023, 11:45 PM IST
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