Industry OCC

The Regional Sweet Spot : Finding A Niche In The OTT Sector


Creative First is delighted to present an interaction between Kranti Gada, the COO of Shemaroo, and Lohita Sujith, Sr. Director, Copyright & Digital Economy, MPA India. Kranti has many accolades and awards to her name, including Business World’s Disrupt 40 under 40, and one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Indian Media, Marketing & Advertising in 2019.

Three years ago, Shemaroo made a strong push towards being a B2C brand with the launch of its platform, ShemarooMe. Kranti acknowledged that the company’s own platform isn’t the only piece of the digital puzzle. Shemaroo also considers YouTube as a serious draw for viewership. Multiple channels garner upwards of 100 crore views per day. Old Hindi songs have been one of Shemaroo’s keys to success on YouTube. She further said that a large part of ShemarooMe’s strategy is to target regional language markets. They saw a great opportunity in Gujarati content. Customers who sign up for the Gujarati pack are offered at least one new piece of content per week. This could be a new film, series or play, which is a popular format in the Gujarati community.

When it comes to tapping a regional language market, Kranti affirms that it is about more than just acquiring content and putting it out there. “You have to be a local player in that ecosystem,” she says. Only then, can you really succeed. ShemarooMe’s Gujarati content has done surprisingly well in the United States.

In the recently released Frontier Economic Report, Kranti sheds some more light on how Shemaroo expects the scales to tip in favour of digital in the coming few years. As shared in the report, Shemaroo currently sees 52% revenues being generated from traditional content and 48% from digital. Going forward, when looking at the complete digital landscape – to include YouTube as well as ShemarooMe, Kranti expects the split to stay similar and fairly even. The reason for this largely being that while Shemaroo is definitely focused on digital it continues to extend it’s traditional footprint. They have recently entered the broadcasting space with the launch of Shemaroo TV and Shemaroo Marathibana where they are seeing healthy growth. Traditional would continue to be a segway into the digital landscape and a contributor to brand growth that would result in customer acquisition on their digital platforms.

Kranti highlighted that the government’s “light touch” regulations have contributed to the growth of online curated content platforms (OCC),[ Source: Frontier Economic Report] but the recent RBI guidelines on recurring payments and the tokenisation rule will present challenges for the industry in the short term. She hopes that the industry and government can work together to address such issues in 2022. Another challenge turned opportunity that Kranti foresees arising in the future is whether a consumer is likely to pay for multiple OCC platforms. She points out that broadcasting has 800+ channels, but aggregators package and streamline the experience. On the impact of OCC platforms on cinema, Kranti believes that cinemas complement OTT platforms because when a film goes to the cinema it creates a bigger buzz which helps the platform. “Everyone doesn’t catch every film at the cinema. So, people will watch them at home,” she asserts. Further, the cinema – going experience helps boost repeat viewing.

As Shemaroo turns 60 during Diwali 2022, their focus will be to continue building a solid B2C brand that lives up to its legacy as one of the oldest, most trusted media houses.

For more detailed insights, watch the full video.


Online Curated Content on steep Upward Trajectory in India Driving Data Usage, Demand for Local Content & Economic Growth

Online Curated Content (OCC) refers to interesting or valuable pieces of content on particular subjects or topics that are collected, collated, classified and readily available for interested parties. The demand for such services is truly growing explosively in India and as many as 148 million Indians subscribed to online curated content (OCC) services in just 2020 alone. Some examples of  domestic OCC players are Alt Balaji to Zee 5 and of global ones are Amazon Prime, Disney Hotstar, and Netflix. With the growth of OCC players in India, our broadcasting and online video sector saw an incredible 159% revenue growth. The success and proliferation of local and regional OCC further rewards our country. A whopping $45billion in global collective investments is pouring into India towards more original content (India Frontiers Report, 2021). The market is young and the competition for Indian eyeballs is fierce. Experts opine that increased availability of pro-investment policies will further accelerate our growth on this upward trajectory leading to immense gains in economic benefits.

Content curators play an important role in our society today. When we watch a movie or show on an OCC platform, we see a refined list of choices based on our past viewing preferences. Even using a simple search engine is an exercise in curation. Search results are organized based on the keywords we enter. These OCC platforms use predictive algorithms to identify our preferences and adjust their recommendations accordingly. We are flooded with data all day, every day – it’s a veritable data deluge of information. For an average consumer, it is impossible to find the information they need and make sense of it on their own. Online curators filter, organize, and help select the right content for us.


The OCC market is projected to grow exponentially. Less expensive data plans and the proliferation of low-cost smartphones means millions of more eager subscribers for OCC platforms. The symbiotic relationship between broadband and telecom works both ways. The demand for local OCC content will drive more people to sign up for better data plans. Let us eliminate barriers to success and instead propel the country towards growth.

Countries with more restrictive policies towards the OCC sector see investments drop. According to the India Frontiers Report, protectionist policies can derail innovation, investments, and employment in the entire OCC industry. The report states found that 60% of production costs are spent in this wider community. 2.65 million jobs are supported in the region. As consumers, the jobs we see are just the tip of the iceberg. Sure, actors, producers, and directors are needed. But, under the surface, the bustling, vibrant OCC ecosystem supports thousands of related jobs. These include writers, set decorators, location scouts, cinematographers, catering services, lodging and hospitality, assistants, makeup professionals, data scientists, data architects, business analysts, legal services, IT services, graphics designers, and much more. For every new job position created in Indian Media and Entertainment, two jobs are created in other sectors.


Tax rebates or subsidies for the OCC sector can help. Liberalised Telecom policies of the nineties played a strong role in helping India become a powerful nation to contend with on the global stage. Indian OCC can also help boost tourism. New Zealand saw a 50% increase in tourism after the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed there. The country of Croatia saw a 100% increase in tourism in just eight years after the popular show Game of Thrones began filming. More tourism boosts our economy further. The opportunities are limitless, but if only we seize them early!

The OCC sector also impacts the e-commerce sector. India’s e-commerce market is expected to reach US $111 billion by 2024 and US $ 200 billion by 2026, according to IBEF. As more people shop online, digital advertising continues to be impactful in driving sales. However, powerful content also plays a strong role. Products and services presented and used by characters on a show, for example, can increase an individual’s familiarity and comfort level with the product and brand.

Public demand for more quality content in India is not going away. If audiences are not satisfied with what our industry creates, we will seek entertainment elsewhere. Just look at influx of Korean music and culture in India due to the quality of their online curated content. In 21019, viewing for K-dramas shot up over 370% in the course of one year. South Korea has been so successful in exporting its culture globally that the Oxford dictionary recently added 26 Korean words.

Indian filmmaking and content creators, similarly, are ready, willing and waiting, to reach for the skies, with just a little bit of facilitation! Let us consciously promote tax rebates, subsidies, liberalised policies towards content, and provide the right infrastructure for growth. The payback to the citizens and the economy through the large socio-economic benefits would far outweigh the investment. One might mistakenly think that we are already getting big gains but, actually,  this is merely the tip of the iceberg compared to the huge potential yet to be tapped. As Americans might eloquently put it, “You ain’t seen nothing yet…the best is yet to be!”