Over-the-top or OTT platforms have emerged as a new source of entertainment for viewers around the world. The digitalization of technology has contributed to the success of businesses to a great extent around the globe. The entertainment and media industry has witnessed an unparalleled growth in the past few decades. Now the consumers are not dependent on their television sets for entertainment. OTT, over the top, is a preferred choice for most of the consumers of the media and entertainment industry. The use of smart phones, laptops, tablets and economic rates of internet packs are the key factors for the inclination towards OTT channels.
With the boom in the technical specifications of smart-phones and rising usage of the internet; the entertainment industry is performing well with OTT services. The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed a large to the subscription of popular OTT series due to free time and need for edutainment and entertainment during lockdown. As the shooting of TV serials and movies were stopped due to lockdown, the consumer shifted towards OTT and the demand offshoot with a high rate. Now consumers are more comfortable with OTT services owing to the convenience and variety available without advertisements. As the trends are observed, the market of OTT will grow rapidly in the coming years too. The companies will now face the changing preferences for OTT platforms instead of entertainment offline.
Talking to Farooq Masoodi, a filmmaker said that of course digital platforms are the best sources of entertainment these days and it gives creative freedom to film, documentary makers and production houses. “Everybody is in rush and digital platform feed them with 21 minutes of episode of their story”
Gul Mohmmad Wani, a senior citizen said that a few decades ago, every Sunday, family and friends would gather to watch programmes such as ALIF LAILA and evening movies but all that has now undergone a sea change. “Technology has disrupted this pattern and along with it the culture of watching together. Viewers now have the liberty to choose and watch from a plethora of genres from several different OTT platforms and that too at one’s own convenience”.
The OTT media is impacting our lives in more than one way:
1. Its impact on the family
1. Is it creating social distancing in the family?
2. Is family harmony in jeopardy?
3. Are children safe under unrestrained OTT media?
2. On the society
1. As one of the reports noted that comedy is the highest genre watched followed by crimes, how will it impact society as a whole?
2. Under the guise of social distancing in the pandemic will OTT media lead to a permanent distancing of the people?
3. On the individual level
1. How will it impact one’s health?
2. What will be its effect on the professional/career advancements?
3. How will it affect students’ lives?
According to Faizan Malik (25) a Netflix user, the content, language, and presentation of the programs of OTT (over the top) have been a cause of concern in recent times in Kashmir. He added these OTT platforms are making huge and enormous profit at the cost of challenging the Indian cultural values and ethos among the youth by posing film, television content flooded with the offensive and abusive language and bold scenes. “Our country has gone through a tremendous technological revolution which promoted the new entertainment platforms through hi-speed Internet, Video-on-Demand and OTT platforms and it is assumed that an average Indian youth spends approximately 8 hours 29 minutes watching online video content, which is much more than the worldwide trend of 6 hours and 45 minutes.”
Director Programmes Srinagar Doordarshan Kendra, Naseeb Singh Manhas said due to Covid19 old programmes were telecasted due which the audience felt that they had to shift to another channel. He said that due to the entertainment revolution, the younger generation is not interested in regional, cultural types of entertainment.
Similarly, Dr Saleema Jan, Director EMMRC University of Kashmir said that the department makes a lot of documentaries which are informative in nature. “But still we can’t get positive because OTT platforms have much more potential in their stories. As far as OTT platforms are concerned, their content is much better than Indian cinema,” she said.