Notes from the Archives – 4 Light & Lively ’21’.

Some products / brands are only limited to a particular place. Products like Tirunelveli Iruttu kadai halwa. Its made by a family in Tirunelveli and till recently it was only available in that particular shop but now things have changed and you can order the awesome Tirunelveli Iruttu kadai halwa online. Same is the case with Charagh Din shirts. They had only one showroom throughout India, only in Mumbai. But then now its available online too.

Pic Courtesy : India Today, December 1984
21 by Lipton

This drink was only available in Delhi city. Not sure why it was only restricted to Delhi, was it because of lack of distribution, or to maintain the exclusivity? or to test the market?

Anyway do you remember any brands like this? 

Notes from the Archives – 3 The Forgotten Sipani D1

Pic courtesy : India Today

India’s automobile history can be easily summarised as pre and post Maruti. 

Hindustan Motors and Premier were the two main car brands prior to Maruti. Hindustan Motors’s “Ambassador” and Premier’s “Padmini” had many fan following. 

Maruti- The Family car

Then came Maruti, incorporated as Maruti Limited under the Companies Act with Sanjay Gandhi as its first managing director.   

In 1981, Maruti Udyog Limited was incorporated, in joint venture with Japanese car maker Suzuki and the first car – Maruti 800 – was launched in December 1983.

But then there were other car manufacturers also, one being Bangalore-based Sipani Automobiles Ltd. Sipani launched many variants including ‘Dolphin’ and ‘Montana’.

D1 or Montana D1 – The only way to arrive! 

In 1990, they launched Sipani D1 with the help of British technology and marketed as the family car. But the design was almost as same as Maruti 800. As per Wikipedia, Sipani manufactured 290 cars in the fiscal year 1989-90 and 190 cars in 1991.   

Read the previous notes Double Seven and Televista TV

Notes from the Archives -2 1982- The year India moved from Black and White to Colour!

Photo Courtesy : India Today

Remember the Old Black and White TV? and later the screen that we used to place in-front of the B&W TV sets to make it more colourful?

Then came the magnificent colour TVs!

Year 1982, India hosted the Asian games for the second time, first one was way back in 1951, the inaugural Asian Games. 

25 APRIL 1982

Doordarshan started the test run of India’s first colour Telecast. India saw the action at the Asian Games in Colour. India came 5th in the medal tally. 

Televista TV

Look at the “T” in the name, the TV antenna ( fish bone) like image 🙂

Look at the “T” in the name, the TV antenna ( fish bone) like image 🙂

The fist TV that I had at home was Bush, which one was yours 🙂

Notes from the Archives- 1 “ Satattar”, A soft drink manufactured and marketed by Indian Government!

Pic Courtesy : The illustrated Weekly of India, April 1982

“Made in India” and “ Aatm Nirbhar Bharat” are the words we often hear nowadays, especially after the showdown with China at the borders, but do you remember ( Millennials and Get Z are excused ) a soft drink brand that was manufactured and marketed by Indian Government?

After the withdrawal of Coca Cola and PepsiCo from India in 1977 due to regulations, lot of ‘Desi’ brands got launched. During that time the then ruling Janata Party led by Sri Moraji Desai, launched “ Double Seven” at the annual trade fair at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

The name

The name of the soft drink was “Satattar” means 77 in Hindi, yes the year was 1977, when national emergency was declared by Ms Indira Gandhi, later she was defeated in the elections and Janata Party came into power.

The first soft drink?

Do you remember the first soft drink you tasted? mine was Thums Up. I still get the strange sensation of the aerated water gushing through my throat.
What was yours?

The OTT Age! Part 4 : The Future of Content

Lot of Disruption to the content pipeline

New productions likely won’t be greenly until late 2020, or 2021

Challenges for platforms dependent on new content offerings

Limited access to financing in a potential recession

Increased competition from new entrants

Consolidation in a global marketplace

Impact on consumer choice

The distinction between different formats is blurring

Cinematic content comes in all shapes and sizes, and filmmakers often work across multiple formats ( series / documentaries)

Franchises are more important than formats

Long term enterprise value created through IP ( e.g Marvel, star wars, merchandising and video games)

Major studios will continue to focus on large releases with built-in audiences

Small speciality producers and distributors will exist to satisfy the gaps in the marketplace, and target underserved audience.

Read part 3 here

The OTT Age! Part 3 : The Content Discovery

Digital innovation is putting the user experience at the centre of value proposition.

Device manufacturers are aggregating content from multiple subscriptions ( Apple TV)

Speech recognition and recommendations to improve navigation and content discovery

Real time feedback allows services to adapt to audience preferences

E.g  Adding more regional content to MUBI INDIA and expanding access to older content with library

Ease of access widens the breadth of content available

Consumers are no longer restricted by geographic location, time, format, platform, or connectivity

Streaming time is ever increasing- the average American streams 8 hours of content per day under lockdown.

Digital distribution enables audience to discover films considered too niche or obscure ( OXONE in Netflix)

MUBI INDIA highlights alternative cinema, including our Parallel Cinema and New Voices series.

Localisation makes international content more accessible to audience

The proportion of non-English language content on platforms like Netflix is increasing with multiple subtitles and audio-tracks available to users

Example—— Dark – German

Platforms are able to focus on specific Genres or Verticals

  Disney+ ( Kids / family),

Shudder ( Horror / thriller)

Crunchyroll (anime)

BritBox ( UK TV /film)

In the next part, we will look into the Future of content.

Read Part 2 here

The OTT Age! Part 2 : The Growth

SVOD consumption has overtaken pay TV in almost 30 countries

Total worldwide subscriptions are forecast to reach over 1 Billion by 2025, including huge growth in India and China.

India is forecasted to have the third highest number of SVOD subscribers worldwide by the end of 2020 due to increasingly affordable devices, cheaper data and faster internet access.

This growth will be driven by new services like MUBI, with Amazon and Netflix’s combined market share decreasing from 42% today to 34% by 2025.

Consumers in major markets are embracing multiple platforms and devices.

Stacking streaming services has become the norm

SVOD penetration will accelerate due to the heavy promotion by top services like Disney+ and HBO Max

SVOD stacking will accelerate as consumers adopt these new services without canceling existing subscriptions

74% of all US households have at least one SVOD service

51% have more than one SVOD service

How many OTT platforms have you registered? I have 3.

Exclusivity means that there is little overlap between different platform offerings.

Increased investment in content has turned streaming into a game of quantity vs quality

Platforms are optimising for time spent and size of library, others are focussed on increasing the quality of content and improving the user experience. 

OTT and Engagement

Online platforms are engaging the audience beyond the viewing experience

Social and editorial features foster dialogue and a sense of community

Social viewing creates new opportunities for engagement 

Examples for social viewing : 

MUBI watch party

Netflix party

Twitch viewing parties  

Social features mimic the collective experience of watching and discussing content with friends or family, while allowing for social distancing

To Be continued. 

In the next part, lets look at How is digital expanding the scope of Cinematic content

Read Part 1 here

The OTT Age! Part 1 : Cinema Vs Digital

I recently attended one virtual conference on live streaming / OTT platforms. Thought of sharing some of the highlights from the conference.

These are the excerpts from the keynote speaker Efe Cakarel, CEO and co-founder of MUBI.

Cinema Vs Digital

COVID-19 has accelerated the following changes

Cinemas (Theatres) are facing acute challenges and are forced to close temporarily

  • Social distancing, combating fears over returning, implementing health and safety measures
  • Massive closures: 41 % of UK venues said they cannot reopen with social distancing guidelines
  • Right-holders ( production houses) shortening windows – e.g Disney eliminating waiting period altogether 

Online distribution can substitute for the theatrical release

Rights holders (Producers) opting for digital distribution

Film festivals cancelled ( but resurrecting online)

New content production paused ( But now slowly started in various places)

MUBI’s virtual preview of EMA debuted in multiple territories with over 25,000 views in one day.

Universal’s digital only release of Trolls World Tour netted $95 million in 3 weeks.

SVOD Consumption

Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) / Digital consumption is overtaking traditional forms. 

Technological innovation is reshaping the way we consume content

UX design is the focus of further innovation

Design thinking – what do we use technology for?

We want to be connected and be constantly entertained, and are designing new technologies to satisfy these desires

Technological innovation is going to bring lot of changes, to make it faster, smaller and cheaper.

Innovation has led to greater portability and new use cases like Internet of Things (IOT) and smart home which can create new forms of engagement.

New platforms specifically optimised for mobile are struggling in the current climate ( Quibi)

SVOD platforms have the benefits of increased data

  • What are people watching? when? How are they viewing content? What will they finish? What won’t they finish? What will they binge?
  • <80 of the TV shows watched on Netflix are discovered through the platform’s recommendation system 

Platforms use these data to refine their acquisitions strategy

  • Netflix has increased reality and documentary content based on indicators that these perform better amongst viewers.
  • But this also narrows the experience – you only see what’s in your recommendation ‘bubble’.

To Be Continued.

What did I like about Aami?

Throughout his career, director Kamal has been known to pick up challenging topics in his films. Be it Perumazhakkalam or Karutha Pakshikal, his films dare to speak about things that often filmmakers won’t address. Even when it came to biopics, he brought in the same passion to tell important stories, such as that of J.C Daniel in “Celluloid” and now it is ‘Kamala Das’ in “Aami”.

Having recently seen rel=” nofollow” Aami on ZEE5, I thought it would be a good time to discuss elements of the film that really caught my eye. 

Before that, one needs to know about the person it is based on – Kamala Das/Kamala Surraiya.

Image Courtesy : Facebook

Madhavikutty / Kamala Suraiya

Kamala Suraiya, born as Kamala Das was a  well known literary personality from Kerala, often bit controversial though in her writings and actions. She was born into a well-known family of literary personalities. Her mom Balamaniamma was also a well-known poet.  Madhavikutty’s writing was always bold and honest. Few times her works’ and outlook attracted criticism from various quarters. Madhavikutty ran into controversy when she decided to accept Muslim faith, changing her name to Kamala Suraiya, at the age of 65.

Things that caught my eye in Aami

Image Courtesy : Wikipedia

In Aami, Kamal went for the slightly slower narrative, a departure from his usual style. Considering how controversial Madhavikutty’s life was, the movie had a liberal dose of drama too. But what set it apart was the semi-fictional approach it went for. Just like Madhavikutty did in her autobiography Ente Kathe/My Story, director Kamal uses elements of fiction and fantasy to thoroughly explore ideas and themes that Madhavikutty stood for in her life.  

The other main highlight of the film is Manju Warrier, for obvious reasons. She is a great performer and you could witness glimpses of that in so many occasions during the film. Manju has done full justice to the protagonist role of Kamala Das, breathing life to a layered character with finesse. Other actors that shine in this movie are Murali Gopy, who plays Kamala’s husband, Madhava Das and Tovino Thomas who plays Lord Krishna.

Also, the director was successful in recreating the bygone era. As the story travels to different places like Mumbai, Kolkata and rural Kerala in different eras, the world Kamala built felt very real in the movie. Major credit for that goes to the makeup and costumes which fit the period’s actual style.

The film, to a certain extent, justifies the life of Madhavikutty. Her conflicts, struggles and quest for true love. An interesting take on the film is the role of Tovino Thomas as Lord Krishna. As someone who is looked upto to fill the lonely void in her life, Madhavikutty always loved Lord Krishna. It is how Kamal captures this sense of loneliness within Madhavikutty is what stands out. Scenes between Kamala and the Krishna effectively showcase the inner struggles she goes through. Even, the songs have been well placed and add up the pace to the movie. Also, though the movie has a non-linear narration, the way Kamal narrates it makes it interesting.   

In short, if you enjoy Kamal’s films and are curious to know about Madhavikutty’s life, watch Aami. This movie features one of Manju Warrier’s good performances in recent times.  

Tata Sky Launches Tata Sky Tamil Cinema: An Exclusive Channel for Tamil Movies

If you ask me name that one industry which is ever growing, I would say Media & Entertainment, especially in the last one decade, we have seen so many platforms and players emerging. The DTH penetration in India has also gone high.

Tata Sky

Tata Sky is the leading DTH service prover in India.  My association with Tata Sky goes back right from the time the switch happened from cable TV to the DTH.  I am quite happy with various packages they offer and the wide range of channels they have.  Now Tata Sky has come up with a exclusive channel for Tamil movies named “ Tata Sky Tamil Cinema”. Now its a great news for movie buffs like me. Currently, the DTH operator has four regional movies services namely Tata Sky Telugu Cinema, Tata Sky Marathi Cinema, Tata Sky Bangla Cinema and Tata Sky Punjab De Rang.

The Launch

Tata Sky launched their new exclusive channel for Tamil films at a Gala event on 11th October. During the launch , Mr. Arun Unni, Chief Content Officer shared some interesting insights and stats about the TV viewership population in Tamil Nadu. According to him, close to 95 percent of population has got TV at home.  When it comes TV viewership, South India is far ahead from rest of India. The DTH viewership is also ever increasing and there is a huge market for regional movies, especially Tamil and Telugu movies. The new exclusive channel for films will cater to this market.

Ad free channel, thats real Jingalala moment!

Yes, the channel won’t have any ads, thats a welcome relief right 😀 and Tata Sky Tamil Cinema is priced Rs 45 per month and you get to see the latest releases.

With this new channel, I am sure Tata Sky is going to  expand its subscriber base in Tamil Nadu.