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Video content gained much importance in the past year, and digital streaming and over-the-top (OTT) platforms got a bigger seat at the table as movies began to be released directly on some top platforms. There was a welcome flux of fresh, engaging content. Industry sources predict trends in 2021 which could rule the OTT space.
Veteran producer Anand Pandit said, “As artists, creators and consumers of art in all spaces, we will continue to adapt to whatever the new normal throws at us. As a producer, I see more and more content and its delivery being digitized for more accessibility. We will find a way to not just create but to reach even those we could not earlier because as some doors close, many others will open and I mean in terms of not just OTT platforms but on content sharing platforms. Story-telling will become more and more democratized as the pandemic has shown us just how powerful the act of sharing personal experiences of survival and resilience can be. And the content we create will have to become more specific to the times, more intimate, more driven by our realities. We will have to be more contextual, more relevant, and more empathetic when we ideate films and shows because 2020 has taught us some hard lessons.”
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“As the world went into lockdown, lots of people embraced OTT platforms for their main source of entertainment. Without any doubt, OTT video is driving the future of home entertainment. In such a competitive space, it’s important that streaming service providers customize their content to match the ever-changing expectations of viewers. Personalization of content will play a major role in 2021 and will be a key differentiator as viewers are looking for a personalized viewing experience. Personalization will make it super convenient for viewers, it could be achieved from strategizing recommendation engines, tailored content, or adaptable user experiences,” Rohit Jain, Managing Director, South Asia and Networks – Emerging Markets Asia at Lionsgate said.
Producer and filmmaker Puneet Singh said, “With the environment still being uncertain we can only hope positively for cinema, that it will get us the theater experience soon, but the impact and market size of what OTT has created cannot be ignored. Reports say that the India OTT content market will reach $5 bn in size by 2023, it cannot be a better thing to know that we have a great future as with OTT, while we wait for theatres to reopen soon.”
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Director Girish Malik said, “OTT’s growth has been accelerated due to the pandemic. But it was growing anyway. And with faster, cheaper, and more accessible internet even in small towns and villages, it will remain a dominant way for entertainment to reach people. While OTT is personalized, convenient, and provides variety. Cinema is a community experience. Going to the cinema is an event. People are still going to go for it. I feel it will take a little more time for people to get comfortable going to cinemas, probably by mid-2021. But the thing to look forward to is how the exposure to this varied content will shape the taste of the people and how and whether it will affect the content we see in cinemas.”
According to Ganesh Iyer – Executive Vice President & National Head, Mirchi Originals, the forced lockdown from March to around August has had a direct impact on the content production cycle and therefore “a lot of shows are delayed; new releases are not as prolific as they could have otherwise been” but that apart, a few things that are likely to happen in the OTT space in 2021:
Regionalization of content in the true sense
5-6 platforms of the big platforms have been making sporadic inroads into the non-Hindi market with original content (apart from catch-up TV content that the broadcaster backed platforms already offer) but expect the traction to grow significantly in 2021. And much of the growth is likely to come not from these national players whose tentpole focus will continue to be Hindi, but from regional single-language focused platforms like Aha (Telugu), and Hoichoi (Bengali). The explosion of growth in video consumption is already coming from regional markets as per most reports – it is now time for quality supply to show up. This is a big investment long-term game, so don’t be surprised if a few regional cash-rich film production houses/media conglomerates throw their hats into the ring.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: 2021 में आने वाली भारतीय वेब शो की रोमांचक सूची
Films direct to OTT
Again the lockdown has seen a plethora of movies across sizes and languages, otherwise planned for theatrical release, going direct to OTT, but expect this to become a permanent trend starting immediately. Not only do filmmakers get to tell stories that are otherwise not commercially viable (given the disproportionate dependence on theatrical revenues and the inability of theatres to release niche movies within the 52 Fridays available every year), but viewers also get to consume a variety of genres, beyond what is otherwise dished out and therefore become deeper consumers of OTT platforms. More important, for platforms too, this is not a totally unviable stream (we are not talking only deep pockets here) since movies tend to find their own audiences across geographies and over time, the luxury of which both, OTT platforms have – unlike the limited domestic theatrical week-on-week seat inventory.
Interactive, real-time content
With terms like AR and VR becoming more and more prevalent, and with interaction on social media playing a key added role, content is likely to go more real-time and interactive – in terms of co-creation, on-the-go dynamics, multiple endings, and even reward-based shows. We are still a few years away from this going more mainstream and we have had international examples like ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ but expect a few big Indian originals to try this route out.
Opening up of genres
The success of intense grim dramas like ‘Mirzapur’, ‘Ashram’, ‘Patal Lok’, etc. (Scam was an outlier but was still intense) has forced most platforms to create similar offerings, but something’s gotta give as they say. All it takes is for a few good shows of a totally different kind to turn the tide to get platforms to green light shows across multiple genres including romantic and slice-of-life comedies. ‘Panchayat’ was a sole runner in 2020, but likely a few others will emerge in 2021 and change this, giving viewers varied choices, and also bringing more consumers into the OTT net (given that dark drama with sex/violence/abusive language make for uncomfortable viewing in a family set-up). (IANS)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)
Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.
Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.
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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin
Sirisha flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.IANS
Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, and other passengers are set to liftoff from west Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space on July 20. Blue Origin announced this week that Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high school graduate from the Netherlands, would join the crew.
Oliver is the son of millionaire Joe Daemen, Founder, and CEO of the Dutch investment company Somerset Capital Partners. Blue Origin, however, did not reveal how much Daemen paid for his son's trip to space. Bezos chose July 20 as the launch date to honor the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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The launch site for Blue Origin's first human flight will be in a remote location north of Van Horn, Texas, from where the firm had launched New Shepard for previous flights. Blue Origin has received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space.
On July 12, Bandla touched the edge of space with three others, including Virgin Galactic's billionaire CEO Richard Branson. Bandla vaulted into space onboard VSS Unity 22. After the successful spaceflight, Branson carried the Indian-American on his shoulders while celebrating their flight to space, at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (IANS/KB)