The OTT platforms and web series are getting increasingly popular among the youth especially during this COVID -19 lockdown and the decreasing viewership of television. Many research points out that the OTT platforms are a much more customized medium than television and the youth can more relate to the content of the new breed of web series. The recent breed of Indian web series is causing a paradigm shift from traditional television viewing among millennials. It’s a further shift of a traditional audience of a film from 70mm theatre screen and 40 inches television to ultimately in 6 inches mobile screen.
What are Web Series?
Wikipedia says, “A web series is a series of scripted or non-scripted online videos, generally in episodic form, released on the Internet and part of the web television medium”. To put it simply, a web series is a series of video episodes that are released over time to tell a story, over the internet.
The growing popularity of web series
The pandemic has further accelerated the growth and business of the OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and HoiChoi to name a few. The closure of the movie halls and rare good content on television has forced a huge portion of the audience to migrate to online platforms for entertainment in search of quality content.
A researcher of online streaming content mentions that unlike several shows and films being made today; Made in Heaven directly addresses and foregrounds current socio-political realities, especially the ones that don’t conventionally fit into mainstream narratives.
Another researcher states the web series are popular “for the younger generation, taut storylines and well-defined characters are definite draws. As are the actors themselves—with not exactly Bollywood looks, they are more of girl-next-door or college-going neighbourhood youngsters. The vast canvas—gangster, rom-com, spy thriller, horror, adult shows—has opened up a whole new world not just for actors, but also for the Indian audience. With web series being made in regional languages and different genres, actors are spoilt for choice, as are viewers.”
So, we conducted an online survey among the young audience in an attempt to study their viewing pattern and popularity of web series. We asked them questions about their favourite web series, genre and OTT platform. Also probing further, we tried to analyze the reasons they like watching web series and what are the changes ushered in by them.
Findings of the survey
Interestingly, around 97% of the respondents said that they watch web series, whereas, only 3% said they are not interested in watching these. Also, female comprise of 64.6% and male 32.7%, among the respondents.
The above figure shows the different platforms which the audience prefers. From the figure above we can see that Netflix is the most popular platform with 62.8% followed by Amazon Prime with 53.1% and Hotstar (51.3%). However, MX Player and Hoichoi are not far behind. Some not so popular names include TVF, Addatimes, Popcorn, Viu, Zee5, etc. Voot is being watched by 21% of the respondents.
The survey also found out that the comedy genre was preferred by 82% of the respondents whereas as many as 75% said they also like romance genre. The other popular genres which the audience desired are action, crime, and drama. A small portion of the audience said they should bring out more content based on sci-fi and horror stories. So, we also have viewership for and space for such content and it also provides a scope for profits. But, the comedy and romance genre dominates. So, while making web series, the producers can focus on diverse content to attract a larger audience.
Some of the most popular among the respondents are Sacred games, Byomkesh, Kota factory, Little things, Girl in the City, Mirzapur, Stories by Tagore, A Family man, Ghost stories, etc. So, we can say that the youth are not only consuming international content but also Indian content.
A respondent who is 21 years old said, “Good stories. And they don’t fall under censorship. So we get to see the exact message. Opposite of the trash content we see in our television sets. Also, ease of place and time”. A critic of Indian web series said, “I love web series because I kind of get too much involved in it and start thinking more about it. Although I’m not much into Indian web series lover as they somehow failed to impress me or make me think about it.”
A huge admirer of the web series The Family Man says, “It’s of the best web series I have ever watched. It’s not like typical Bollywood thriller where the hero does extraordinary stunts to save the nation. Manoj Bajpayee fully justified his character through his acting; rather he lived in the character”.
A few of the respondents said that the “relatability and the desi references or jokes which are to supposed to be about the cultures is very well portrayed in the Indian Web Series which makes it unique”.
To conclude, we can say that the youngsters are seen to be social media enthusiasts and so web series are easily running and gaining popularity among them. Web series are taking rise because people can select and watch a series based on their interests – and when they have enough free time at their disposal especially during this pandemic of COVID-19.
- Pathak, A. (2019, 03 12). Huffingtonpost. Retrieved 02 5, 2020, from https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/made-in-heaven-review-zoya-akhtars-show-exposes-our-vulgar-obsession-with-social-perceptions_in_5c81327ae4b06ff26ba665a7
- Roy, L. D. (2019, 10 28). Retrieved from Outlook India: https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/blood-sex-and-gaali-unlimited-web-series-rule-the-roost-content-close-to-reality-scripts-path-to-stardom/302270
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