South Indian cinema has capacity to make a Money Heist, feels Netflix


The OTT market in India which is upending India’s entertainment industry alone is expected to be worth around ₹10 lakh crores and growing at 20 per cent. While the subscriber base, which is currently pegged at 8 crores, is also growing at 10 per cent, due to the OTT’s drive for content, budgets too have soared and talent (creators, technicians and performers) is in greater demand.

Interestingly, out of the 100 films that were showcased on OTT, 40 per cent has been regional and by 2025, 54 per cent of the films on OTT is expected to be regional cinema, said a report released by the CII on the occasion of the Dakshin South India Media & Entertainment Summit.

The Federal is the media partner of the CII Dakshin South India Media & Entertainment Summit,  held in Chennai on April 9 and 10.

In a session titled ‘OTT 2.0: The Next Big Boom’, representatives of OTT platforms discussing the rise of regional or south cinema on OTT platforms, pointed out that South Indian cinema has mirrored the breakout journey of Korean dramas on the global scene. In the last two years, south cinema has had a breakout journey with their rooted content pan-India, said Monika Shergill, vice-president, content, Netflix India.

Netflix has also consciously focussed on generating more “local content” in regional languages in the last two years. According to them, more incredible stories are expected from regional cinema which has the capacity to come up with a “Money Heist”, which will connect globally. Regional cinema has incredible talent and needs a massive stage which was recently amplified with the success of ‘RRR’.

But they dismissed the notion that it had displaced Bollywood. “It is helping Bollywood to grow and their ambition is rubbing off on other industries in the country,” said Gaurav Banerjee, head, content, Disney+Hostar and HSM Entertainment Network.

Crime stories are top catch

Though audiences are lapping up diverse content, the participants in the seminar agreed that crime stories are the most sought-after on OTT platforms. “It is most easily marketable and is the most popular genre, though, action, family, romance, horror also did well on OTT. While TV had a one-size fits all with a saas bahu series, OTT platforms are all about masses of niche”, said Banerjee.

For Netflix, the documentary genre has done extremely well, especially stories based on real events have been extremely popular. However, writers were not writing great comedies, and India is waiting for a good comedy breakout show, he admitted. Writing for OTT was no different from writing for film, except that the subject needed to be more edgier, admitted Shergill.

Though the audience on OTT was largely male, a strong female audience existed which wanted stories across spectrums. According to Banerjee, their web series ‘Aarya’, a female led show, was a huge success. For them gritty shows, family dramas like Anupama and suspense also work, he said.


There are more movies than series on OTT platforms because filmmakers were scared to commit for longer periods of time to stay with one project. “It is time consuming and creators may find it is a huge risk to stay with just one project,” said Sameer Nair, Applause Entertainment.

On why they are not tapping famous Tamil literary works, Suji Prabhakaran, CEO, Zee Entertainment pointed out that the challenges they faced were that they would require specialist writers and deal with copyright issues.

The participants who included Manish Meghani from Amazon Prime as well, agreed that they were going after big names and not giving space for new voices. However, Banerjee said that they had given Pratik Gandhi, a Gujarati actor who made it big after ‘Scam’.