OTTs are driving demand for good content and film & TV courses must cater to this need – Times of India
By Vidya Deshpande
Bennett University’s Times School of Media has broken new ground once again. Realising the shift in the way audiences are consuming entertainment content, the University has launched two path-breaking programmes – a BA in (Film, TV and Web Series) programme for undergraduate students and a Post-graduate Diploma in Film, TV and Web Series for graduates.
The programmes are the first of their kind in India and have been launched to meet the requirements of the entertainment industry that urgently needs trained manpower to create television and OTT content.
According to the 2021 FICCI & EY media and entertainment report, 28 million Indians bought online subscriptions in 2020 leading to a 49% jump in digital revenues. In the past few years, over 40 plus video on demand channels have set up shop in India with Disney+Hotstar leading the charge.
International platforms like Netflix and Amazon are investing heavily in Indian content, especially in regional language products. The telecom companies like Jio & Airtel realising the shift in audience tastes are offering free subscriptions to streaming channels as an incentive to broadband subscribers.
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There is an explosion in regional languages too. Viewers are opting for content dubbed in the language of their choice or often prefer subtitles in their language when the original sound is retained. As per a YouTube estimate, of all video content consumed in India in 2020, 7 % was in English, 56% in Hindi and 37% in regional languages.
By 2025, this percentage is predicted to tilt in favour of regional content, with more than 50 % of content coming from regional production houses; Hindi dropping 11 percentile points to hover at 45% and English dropping to 5%. This means that content production in regional languages will get a huge boost.
Genres are expanding too. The market players keep on redefining genres to add more and more topics to their repertoire to keep the viewers interested. In a content-hungry world, where will these entertainment production houses find talent to produce new content.
The existing film and television schools are still to change gears. There is a yawning gap between what the industry wants and what the Film and TV courses are teaching, and this gap is only growing.
The common complaint from industry recruiters is that mass communication students are not industry-ready. This is an important point, and all existing and new programme creators must keep this in mind. The film, television and OTT courses should equip students to produce quality content right from storyboarding up to post-production aspects, with no additional on-the-job training required.
The effort should be to develop a curriculum that is curated by the industry. This is where Bennett University’s two programmes – the three-year Bachelor of Arts (Film, Television and Web Series), and the one-year Post Graduate Diploma in Film, Television and Web Series – come as a breath of fresh air.
Both the programmes have been curated by Junglee Pictures, the Mumbai-based film production house that has given such major hits as Raazi, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Badhai Ho. The programmes promise to involve filmmakers, directors, actors, film marketers and OTT professionals in teaching the craft of film and serial making.
Students passing out of such courses will become eligible for a range of jobs. These include those of Script Writer, Video Editor, Cinematographer, Audio Editor, Assistant Producer, Casting Assistant, Line Producer, Production Assistant, Locations Assistant, Floor Runner, Assistant Director, Prop Master, Art Department Trainee, Video Assist Trainee, Sound Mixer, Lighting Trainee, Post-production Trainee, Archivist, Editorial Trainee, Marketing Assistant etc.
These are programmes for all those youngsters who dream to enter the world of film, television and web series.
(Vidya Deshpande is Associate Professor, Times School of Media, Bennett University.)
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