Eros Now has announced a big content slate comprising a total of 46 new titles — 33 film premieres and 13 original series — aimed at widening the platform’s reach by offering a range of programme formats in varied languages such as Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, and Hindi among others.
Speaking at the launch, Ali Hussein, CEO, Eros Now, said the time spent on the platform has increased in the lockdown period.
Hussein said they noticed a lot of users coming from tier two and three cities. “There has been a 2.5-3X growth for in-home viewing on the big screen. One of the encouraging factors was looking at the in-home viewing because that kind of implies two real factors. One is less churn month on month from our metrics and the second thing is the additional amount of time spent.”
"We recorded a 6.9 million increase in paid subs until September 30," he added.
Hussein said they aim at leveraging technology to be able to create content and the platform’s deal with Microsoft has allowed audiences to stream content seamlessly.
“This allows people to consume OTT programming in areas where there is patchy, low, or even zero internet connectivity; where the delivery happens through satellite. There was a very interesting pilot we ran with Microsoft in 10 small cities of Karnataka. We're currently in discussions with them to scale this across the country. This is one of Microsoft's interesting projects with the engineering teams working from Hyderabad and Bangalore in India. We will be taking this to markets across Africa and markets in Southeast Asia. The innovation happening from India is kind of then going outside. I don't think any other OTT incumbent has done anything in this space,” he added.
The platform has taken on board actors Ayushmann Khurrana and Kartik Aaryan for promoting the new content. The campaign #KahaaniHarRangKi is based on insights derived from Eros Now’s proprietary user data, and is customised to satisfy the demand of its target audience in the Indian and global diaspora. The campaign will be extended by a 360-degree marketing outreach. They have hired several influencers to extend the campaign on social media.
Speaking about the platform’s content strategy, he said they are moving away from the large a-grade celebrity-driven content to a more narrative or story-driven content. “Unlike some others, it's not just about crime thrillers that we focus on. Drama, romance, comedy, are very interesting genres. The regional is definitely a big theme in terms of where we see a significant amount of growth,” he added.
For the Hollywood streaming audiences, they have the STX library and their partnership with NBC. However, he said the launch of Eros Now Prime, their service for streaming English content, has been delayed.
“The launch of our technology backend got slightly delayed because of us wanting to build a few more features on what we are doing with subtitles and dubbing. We are launching Eros Now Prime right after the launch of the platform, which is next month. Eros Now Prime will launch the first quarter of the calendar year 2021," Hussein said.
Asked about the regulation of OTT platforms, he said the Ministry of I&B has a good understanding that consumers present in the space are not the same as the audiences on television.
“For us, specifically, as a company, the 40-year-old culture is completely based on driving content, which would drive people to the theatres. We've been more conducive to family-oriented culture in the first place. So I think that's a space where we understand how to be edgy and how to come up with interesting stories. But the narrative will always follow a path that could be conducive to a larger audience,” he added.