Speaking from a creative lens, Aparna began the session by speaking about her inspirations and how there’s a renaissance and a fresh movement for creative industries in India. With stories abound, it is an exciting time to be in the creative space with ample opportunities to explore new creative directions.
In the context of content for the Indian landscape, Aparna was of the view that the pandemic pushed forward a creative revolution that was already at the precipice. While the pandemic in it’s early days did create significant operational issues with production schedules coming to a halt, in the mid and long-term it has served as a catalyst for the industry providing significant impetus for its growth – especially in the streaming space.
On being a first mover in the streaming space, Aparna spoke about how Amazon was one of the first players in the market to provide direct to stream films in India which resulted in a 3x growth in viewing hours along with a growth of collective (family) consumption in front of a television stream. This growth provided Amazon with the opportunity to understand regional viewership behaviors and to explore a wide range of new ideas and concepts.
Finding opportunity in growth also presents a philosophical perspective of finding light in the darkest of times. While it was disheartening for creators in the initial stages of the pandemic, the lockdowns and the inability to film content, eventually provided the inspiration to explore new ideas and keep creating.
On the subject of data, Aparna spoke about how data is very important to understand demographics and viewing behavior. The formulae driven by data has to be coupled with instinct and the passion of the creator. She also highlighted that there has been a paradigm shift in how stories are being told in the online space and that there is a tremendous opportunity for a multitude of stories to succeed since each niche has something that appeals to it’s palette. The digital landscape provides a seamless channel of communication with decision makers in the industry. She does share advice that it’s better to present the most passionate ideas rather than a bouquet of scattered ideas.
Once a script or an idea is selected to become an Amazon Original, the long journey of development that could range from 6 to 12 months begins. The process at Amazon is collaborative with multiple individuals working together with the best interests of the story in mind. The idea moves into a screenplay, a robust script and then is finally ready to go into production.
To close things out Aparna is excited with what Amazon has in store for Indian audiences as she sees multiple projects that started in the last year come close to fruition and ready for release.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aparna began her career with Sony Entertainment Television (2006-2007), where she worked as an executive producer on shows such as CID and Fear Factor. She has extensive experience in producing films and has held several leadership roles at companies such as UTV Motion Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), Mumbai Mantra and the Cinestaan Film Company.