Warner Bros’ bet on local IPs sparks growth of kids’ cluster
Warner Bros. Discovery, which operates children’s TV channels POGO, Cartoon Network, and Discovery Kids in India, has reaped rewards by investing in local intellectual properties (IPs) such as Little Singham and Chhota Bheem, which helped drive growth.
The company has expanded its programming on POGO by adding Malayalam, Kannada, and Marathi content, besides launching weekly long format shows to captivate and retain its young audience.
However, linear television remains the company's mainstay even though all content is available on its direct-to-consumer streaming platform discovery+, besides Prime Video Channels in India.
“The kids' genre has always been a good contributor to the (broadcast) industry and business with significant potential that is only going to grow from hereon. The differentiator for us is what we have invested in local IPs to create characters that resonate and connect with the Indian culture," Uttam Pal Singh, head of kids cluster at Warner Bros. Discovery, said in an interview.
Introducing characters like Chhota Bheem and Little Singham offer a more relatable and slice-of-life perspective compared to traditional mythological and superhero narratives that the children in India were used to watch. Chhota Bheem, an animation show, has been on air since 2008, while Little Singham, an adaptation of the Bollywood action movie was created in collaboration with director Rohit Shetty.
While the pandemic led to increased viewership for kids' content, as children were confined to their homes, it did not translate into advertising revenue for the overall industry as the market condition was very challenging, Singh said.
Subsequently, as normalcy returned with the reopening of schools, viewership dipped, but still the genre's reach grew 20% compared to the previous year as things stabilized. This prompted POGO to broaden its language offering with Malayalam, Kannada, and Marathi, in addition to Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. Now, the channel seeks to engage the children for longer periods by replacing 11-22 minute daily programming to new formats with 44- minute shows for the week.
“We do sense an opportunity in adaptations but at the same time, a lot of work goes into these. We cannot just pick up any Bollywood IP, the character needs to get a life of its own without messing up its intrinsic brand value," said Singh.
The success of kids' shows like Little Singham and Fukrey Boyzzz, adaptation of another Bollywood hit, has also fuelled the interests of the producers to continue featuring such film franchises for the big screen.
Furthermore, the company that has already ventured into gaming for some of these IPs, is set to diversify its offerings through licensing and merchandise.
While all shows are available on discovery+, the company's video streaming service that is part of the Prime Video Channels, an aggregation service by Amazon Prime Video , that hosts subscription-driven video-on-demand platforms on its app and website, Singh said linear television remains the focus. “We're able to create significant value and impact on television, in terms of revenue on distribution and ad sales. It remains a mainstay because we've built scale on it for the genre and once our content has reached majority of kids on television, it always has the potential to travel to other platforms."
The firm has also signed a syndication deal with Netflix, Singh said.
Source: Live Mint
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Good news for all the OTT viewers who were keenly waiting to watch Barbie at home with their friends and family. Greta Gerwig's box office blockbuster is available on OTT. The movie can be watched on rent on Prime Video for ₹500. The biggest film of the year stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as the Mattel dolls, Barbie and Ken.
Despite facing a tough competition from Nolan's Oppenheimer, Barbie earned a massive success at box office. The two movies also created a phenomenon named Barbenheimer.
The news of Barbie's relese on OTT was shared by Pime Video on its social media accounts.
"Did we hear you say hi barbie? Barbie now available on #PrimeVideoStore, rent now," said the caption of Prime VIdeo's post on instagram.
The movie was directed by Greta Gerwig and earned her the title of first solo female director to earn $1 billion from film at global box office. The movie also features actors like America Ferrera, Simu Liu, Dua Lipa, Emerald Fennell, Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon, Michael Cera and Will Ferrell. The movie's story revolves around the lead roles, Barbie and Ken, who were expelled from their world, ‘Barbie Land'. Later, the story focuses on their journey to the real world.
Source: Live Mint
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Kannada Classic Lucia To Return To Theatres For 10th Anniversary Celebration Published 34 minutes ago
The Kannada-language film Lucia, released in 2013, is poised for a theatrical re-release to commemorate its 10th anniversary, hitting screens on September 6. Directed by Pawan Kumar, Lucia is hailed as a game-changer in the Kannada film industry and holds a special place in the hearts of cinephiles. The film boasts a talented cast that includes Sathish Ninasam, Sruthi Hariharan, Achyuth Kumar, Sabreen Baker, and Rishab Shetty, who played pivotal roles in this cinematic gem.
Sathish Ninasam recently took to social media to share a heartwarming picture of the Lucia team. In the photograph, Sathish, Sruthi, and director Pawan Kumar sport casual attire, exuding smiles as they pose for the camera. The post was captioned, “Lucia back on screen after 10 years! Sept 6th," and it quickly garnered attention from fans eager to relive the cinematic brilliance.
Lucia marked Sruthi Hariharan's debut in the film industry, and as the movie's 10th-anniversary celebration approaches, she reflected on how the film transformed the careers of everyone involved.
A source quoted in Times of India said, “Cliched as it might sound, time has literally flown by! It was my debut, and the tenth anniversary of the film also co-incidentally marks 10 years of me in the industry. Lucia was a film that changed the career of everyone in the team and brought recognition for all of us. The film set a new trend in Kannada cinema at a time when the digital age was at an absolute nascent stage. The kind of notice it fetched, the reception it got at film festivals abroad is still memorable for all of us."
For those unfamiliar with Lucia, the film delves into the life of a man suffering from insomnia. In search of a solution, he acquires a novel and unheard-of drug named Lucia, which blurs the boundaries between reality and fantasy, leading to an unforgettable cinematic experience.
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OTTs pledge self-regulation amid scrutiny
Video-streaming platforms have reached out to the government reiterating their commitment to both responsible content creation and self-regulation amid increasing scrutiny by authorities, said industry insiders.
In a letter, OTT (over-the-top) platforms have outlined their long-term objectives, roles and responsibilities, such as adhering to the Code of Ethics, strengthening self-regulatory bodies as well as maintaining age-based classifications for shows and movies aired on the platforms.
The Internet and Mobile Association of India and the Indian Digital Media Industry Foundation wrote to the government on behalf of the platforms conveying the industry's stand.
Industry experts said while government authorities often summon company executives to address key issues, recently, shows like Kohrra and Rana Naidu ruffled some feathers.
There's also concern about the potential impact of a consultation paper proposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) for regulating OTT platforms, including content providers. Additionally, certain revisions in the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill have necessitated a review of age classifications if a film is to be screened on platforms following its theatrical release.
“Essentially, with a surge in OTT consumption post-covid, there has been a rise in complaints against content, and the idea has been to find a balance between creative expression and what may be seen as sensitive. Discussions with the government happen, though there is some concern of late on the Trai consultation paper for the technology apps that may also take a look at content platforms," the legal head of a streaming service said on condition of anonymity.
Furthermore, platforms are still not clear whether amendments to the cinematograph Bill require a re-evaluation of age classification and whether there is a necessity for censor board approval if a film is to be shown on a secondary platform.
“Overall, all platforms are being cautious post the Tandav incident and the intention is to not hurt any sentiments," the legal head added.
OTTs have sworn to ensure that movies and shows do not threaten security of the state, public order, beliefs and views of racial and religious groups, and display age-based classification prominently. They have also said that self-regulatory bodies will be adequately trained and strengthened.
Subhash Bhutoria, founder and managing partner, Law SB, said the platforms have reiterated all that is mentioned in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. “The only issue is monitoring the voluminous content streamed on the platforms. Self-regulatory bodies have been formed, but a lot of time and effort is required, as there are over 57 OTTs operational in India. No organization has that kind of bandwidth," Bhutoria added.
Another executive at an OTT platform said that while services vetoed it completely, there was also a proposal to create a fourth level of self-regulatory mechanism where scripts could be whetted for problematic themes before shoots start. “A lot of big players have that kind of mechanism, but it's hugely expensive and could be a challenge for smaller entities. Another point of discussion was whether there could be such a body (for going through scripts) at an industry level, but no service would want to share scripts and ideas outside the organization," the person said. The self-regulatory bodies are only two years old and still need time to step up and address all complaints, the person agreed. However, several services could do a better job of age gating and access controls, he said.
“We're all aware that extreme nudity or violence cannot be encouraged, but the whole idea of an OTT is to not be another form of a GEC (general entertainment channel)," Akshay Bardapurkar, founder of OTT platform Planet Marathi, said.
Source: Live Mint
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Bigg Boss Star Divya Uruduga Comfortable Fashion Is A Winner On Any Given Day Published 17 minutes ago
Divya Uruduga, a well-known face from the reality show Bigg Boss Kannada, continues to charm her growing followers on social media with her engaging posts. Her recent outfit choice, featuring black pants paired with a vibrant green T-shirt and her flowing hair, has garnered positive attention from her fans. Complementing her look with a brown leather backpack, she shared a series of pictures with an endearing caption: “Your clothes don't have to shine when your smile can!"
Divya Uruduga's recent photo has sparked an overwhelmingly positive response on social media and an outpouring of compliments from her admirers. Her presence on Bigg Boss Kannada has left a lasting impact on viewers, making her a notable figure.
Her recent snapshots in a stunning blue and red salwar suit have further piqued the interest of her followers. She has opted for neutral makeup, accentuating her look with a pink lip shade and rosy cheeks. The addition of a pendant completes her ensemble with elegance. Alongside the pictures, she wrote a heartfelt caption: “We all wear scars! And finding someone who makes your scar feel beautiful is rare. Treasure them!"
The sentiment Divya Uruduga shared in her caption struck a chord with her fans, reflecting her positive outlook on life. Her followers admire her simplicity and beauty, expressing their desire to see more of such endearing snapshots that resonate with them.
Divya Uruduga's close friendship with Arvind KP during Bigg Boss Kannada Season 8 left a lasting impact on fans. Both contestants were among the top 5 finalists, and rumours about their marriage have been circulating. The duo even collaborated on a film called Ardhambardha. Their strong bond seems to have extended beyond the confines of the reality show.
The upcoming film Ardhambardha Premakathe, directed by Kannada filmmaker Aravind Kaushik, will feature Divya Uruduga. Although initial reports denied Aravind KP's involvement in the project, a teaser release on October 5 clarified the situation. The unexpected inclusion of KP as the male lead in the teaser has generated significant buzz.
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Siddique Was A Big Brother To Me In Cinema And In Life
Malayalam director and screenplay writer Siddique died on Tuesday, August 8 at the age of 63. The filmmaker was reportedly undergoing treatment for a liver ailment. He was hospitalised at the Amrita Hospital in Kochi last month. According to media reports, Siddique suffered a heart attack on Monday and was put on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) support, but he passed away on Tuesday night.
Now, the Malayalam film industry is mourning his loss and shared their condolences on social media. South star Mohanlal shared a picture of Siddique and penned a long post in Malayalam, which can be loosely translated to: “I can't believe the demise of my dear Siddique. Expressing stories through natural humour and common man's life problems; Siddique, who became a favourite among Malayalees all over the world, cannot express the sadness of his untimely departure. Due to the variety of topics and attraction of direction, millions of viewers were waiting for Siddique's every movie.”
He also mentioned that Siddique knew how to evoke emotions, and through films, he has made his audience laugh a lot, brought tears to their eyes, reminded them not to lose hope, and set himself as a role model for people who want to reach the top. “Siddique lived as an ordinary man, leaving luxury, being gentle in words and behaviour, without showing hostility to anyone. I was lucky to act in Big Brother; from the first film he worked as an assistant director from Kannumnattu to the final film Big Brother. Siddique was literally a big brother to me in cinema and in life. Condolences with pain,” he concluded the message.
Kareena Kapoor Khan also paid her tributes to the late filmmaker, with whom she worked in the film Bodyguard, starring opposite Salman Khan. She shared a monochrome picture of Siddique on her Instagram Stories. Her caption reads, “Will always remember you like this… with a smile. You will be missed Siddique Sir.”
Siddique made his directorial debut with the Malayalam film Ramji Rao Speaking in 1989. The film was loved by the audience and was a stepping stone to his successful career in the film industry. His last work was Big Brother with Mohanlal.
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Smaller scale helps regional OTT platforms ride bumps
With subscriptions hitting a plateau and large, foreign OTT platforms controlling budgets, smaller streaming services that focus on specific regional languages or a certain genre may be at an advantage thanks to their smaller scale. Platforms like aha video, Planet Marathi, OM TV and others say they haven’t had to cut budgets since they started cautiously and have benefited from catering to region-specific audiences. Their hyperlocal content and slow start have given them time to evaluate the market and they believe catering to a specific niche has its own advantages. Many are looking to scale up and seek funding.
“Being a homegrown player has distinct advantages. Our proximity to consumers enables us to have a better understanding of their expectations. Although rising content acquisition costs may pose a challenge, we leverage our flexibility to make strategic bets that enable us to make smart purchases while keeping a close eye on acquisition costs," said Rakesh C.K., head - SVoD and business strategy of aha, an OTT platform that primarily offers content in Telugu and Tamil. The company is also experimenting with content formats that help it tap newer audience categories while collaborations with hyperlocal partners are instrumental in expanding reach, C.K. added.
Akshay Bardapurkar, founder of OTT platform Planet Marathi said instead of reducing output, smaller players like them are trying to be completely sure of what they put out. “Ironically, the costliest shows are not the biggest successes. It is the small ones, more rooted in local sensibilities that work," he pointed out.
In a way, smaller players do not compete with international giants when it comes to content offerings, Rajat Agrawal, director of Ultra Media and Entertainment Group that owns Marathi OTT Ultra Jhakaas, said. “To battle rising prices and competition, they need to adopt tiered pricing models, offering different subscription plans with varying levels of content access and features. Bite-sized subscription plans work better. They may adopt a more targeted marketing strategy, focusing on digital advertising and organic growth through social media, influencer collaborations, and word-of-mouth promotion, rather than expensive traditional marketing campaigns," Agrawal said.
That said, smaller, homegrown OTT platforms face unique challenges in an environment where even foreign rivals are controlling costs, said Keerthi R Kumar, business head, south, at digital advertising agency FoxyMoron said.
“One of the key challenges is competing with the vast resources and extensive content libraries of larger players. To battle competition and rising prices, smaller players typically focus on differentiating themselves by offering niche content that cater to specific audience segments or by providing localized and regional content that resonate with their target market. Additionally, smaller players often prioritize fostering strong relationships with content creators and investing in original content that stand out from the offerings of their competitors. This can help them build a loyal following and establish a unique brand identity in the market. Collaboration with other smaller players and focus on region or language specific content is a possible outlet as well to stay ahead of the curve," Kumar said.
The approach of homegrown players has been different, said Nitin Jai Shukla, founder and managing director of OM TV, an app for spiritual content.
Because they didn't start by operating at levels where production values or infrastructure costs were massive, they've always been cautious. “India is a diverse country and you can cater to several niches in terms of language or demography even if production values are not high," Shukla said adding that the company is also in talks with aggregators and a Marathi language OTT platform to collaborate on content in order to strengthen its play.
Similarly, this June, BookMyShow Stream had partnered with MUBI, a platform known for international content to bring world cinema titles to the TVoD (transaction video-on-demand) platform. While bigger players will continue getting support from their parent companies, smaller OTTs who have already bridged the gap on a vernacular level, will have to maintain their momentum of constantly evolving and producing newer content, said Shivani Kamdar, associate creative director at digital agency SoCheers. “There are two things these homegrown brands have already identified and gotten right. One, to adopt short-form videos, which adds to the advantage of hyperlocalising the content. And two, endorsing newer talent that not only drive newer audiences but also come cheap," Kamdar said.
Source: Live Mint
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Blockbuster movie ‘Barbie’ crosses $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide
"Barbie", the Hollywood blockbuster movie has crossed $1 billion in box office ticket sales worldwide since its debut on July 21, Warner Bros. Pictures said on Sunday.
The fantasy-comedy movie has taken in $459 million from domestic theaters - counting the United States and Canada - and another $572.1 million overseas since it hit theaters, for a total of $1.0315 billion, Warner Bros. said in a statement.
The movie production house also said that Oscar-nominated "Barbie" writer and director Greta Gerwig also became the first female filmmaker to surpass the billion-dollar benchmark as a solo director.
According to Reuters citing Comscore data, the film drew $127 million worldwide this weekend - Friday through Sunday - with $53 million in domestic receipts and another $74 million overseas.
“As distribution chiefs, we're not often rendered speechless by a film's performance, but Barbillion has blown even our most optimistic predictions out of the water," Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures, and Andrew Cripps, president of international distribution, said in a statement.
"Barbie" ticket sales rank second this year to "The Super Mario Bros", which was released in April and has raked in a total of $1.357 billion at the box office, according to Reuters.
According to AP, in modern box office history, just 53 movies have made over $1 billion, not accounting for inflation, and “Barbie" is now the biggest to be directed by one woman, supplanting “Wonder Woman's" $821.8 million global total. Three movies that were co-directed by women are still ahead of “Barbie," including “Frozen" ($1.3 billion) and “Frozen 2" ($1.45 billion) both co-directed by Jennifer Lee and “Captain Marvel" ($1.1 billion), co-directed by Anna Boden. But, “Barbie" has passed “Captain Marvel" domestically with $459.4 million (versus $426.8 million), thereby claiming the North American record for live-action movies directed by women.
(With inputs from agencies)
Source: Live Mint
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Khatron Ke Khiladi 13
Since its premiere on July 15, Khatron Ke Khiladi season 13 has been captivating audiences with its stunts. With 14 contestants, the show has been delivering non-stop action and excitement, pushing celebrities to their limits in various challenging tasks. However, in the latest episode, viewers were taken by surprise as popular actress Anjum Fakih had to bid farewell to the adrenaline-packed show. Following the earlier exits of Ruhi Chaturvedi and Rohit Roy, Anjum became the most recent contestant to be eliminated from the gripping series.
In their final task, Anjum Fakih and Aishwarya Khare found themselves in a challenging situation inside a pool beneath a spinning cage. Their mission was to collect tags suspended within the pool. Aishwarya displayed remarkable determination and successfully removed all the tags, despite two of them getting ripped in the process. Meanwhile, Anjum gave her all and managed to retrieve two tags. However, as the task progressed, she faced a hurdle when water entered her mouth, leaving her feeling breathless. The intense pressure eventually led Anjum to make the difficult decision of quitting the task.
Actress Ruhi Chaturvedi was the first contestant to be eliminated from the action-packed reality show. Meanwhile, in the fourth episode, Rohit Roy suffered a serious injury during one of the stunts, leading him to return to Mumbai for further medical treatment. Despite this setback, the show's producers are trying their best to keep Rohit Roy involved in the show.
Apart from the thrilling tasks and evictions, rumours of conflicts between contestants have surfaced on Khatron Ke Khiladi Season 13. Speculations arose about tensions between Anjum Fakih and Ruhi Chaturvedi during the early days of the shooting. However, both celebrities chose to remain tight-lipped about the alleged dispute.
Meanwhile, with Anjum Fakih's exit, the competition has intensified for the remaining 11 contestants who have managed to survive on Khatron Ke Khiladi Season 13. The impressive lineup still includes Daisy Shah, Arjit Taneja, Sheezan Khan, Rashmeet Kaur, Anjali Anand, Shiv Thakare, Soundous Mufakir, Nyrraa M Banerji, Archana Gautam, Aishwarya Sharma, and Dino James.
As the thrilling show progresses, fans eagerly await more breathtaking stunts, nail-biting challenges and eliminations. Khatron Ke Khiladi, which has had a successful run of 12 seasons, continues to captivate audiences.
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