MX Player released its original show - ‘Dharavi Bank’, featuring actors Vivek Oberoi and Suniel Shetty in lead roles. Against the backdrop of this launch, Gautam Talwar, Chief Content Officer, MX Player, spoke about the various challenges the OTT industry faces and what keeps them motivated to churn out quality content.
The show that marks Shetty’s OTT debut is a crime-thriller that is set in the biggest slum of Asia- Dharavi in Mumbai. The show was released on November 19, 2022, on MX Player.
Speaking about what makes the show different from other crime shows, Talwar said, “Crime is just the genre of the show as it is a cop and antagonist story but it's got a lot more to it. The layering of the show has got a lot more to it. Everybody’s character is grey. It’s not black and white, and the layering in a crime show is what makes it different and that’s what we have got in the show.”
MX Player has crossed one billion downloads globally. Talwar said, what makes it stand out from other OTT players in the market is that they make shows for the masses. “We are proudly mass-driven and don’t shy away from saying that. We don’t make niche content; we don’t make content for the South Mumbai audience. My audience is sitting in small hinterland India and we make our content for them with a lot of authenticity. We know what they need and what is entertaining to them.”
As per Talwar, the reason behind the success of their shows is research and data. He said MX Player is a very consumer-centric platform. “We meet our audiences very frequently, do surveys very frequently, so we understand what they are looking for and basis that understanding we make shows. Every show that we release gives us some data about what the audience wants to watch. Data gives us directional understanding about what they are liking and what they are not liking.”
However, he said it is gut feelings and the story-telling that matters in the end.
Talwar further said that rising costs and talent crunch are the biggest challenges in the OTT space.
"Today there are a lot of avenues available for actors, technicians and writers. The talent is busy and this is why the cost is rising. Therefore, making shows in budgets that make sense is key,” he said.
Talwar revealed that their content line-up for 2023 looks promising and many shows are in the pre-production stage. “The slate is very exciting; we have some phenomenal shows in the pipeline. We want to make shows that our audiences are engaged in and are entertained by. In terms of numbers, we are the number one platform, I don’t think that’s the game we are playing. What we are trying to focus on is can we make engaging content for such a large audience,” he stated.