Discovery Plus addresses need for non-scripted content on OTT platforms: Megha Tata

Radhika Sharma

New Delhi, Mar 19 (PTI) Discovery Plus, India's first aggregated real-life entertainment streaming app, has the advantage of emerging as the first player in the non-scripted area at a time when most of the over-the-top platforms are vying for viewers attention in the scripted space, says Discovery executive Megha Tata.

Tata, the managing director South Asia, Discovery, said they have a 'rich library' of content, some of which is yet to be seen by Indian audiences.

'There are about 40 plus OTT players in the scripted space finding the game of similar content and that's a big challenge for any new player coming into that zone. But in the non-scripted space there is not a single player here today.

'While there is a lot of non-scripted content available on some of these OTTs, it plays a minuscule part of their proposition. There are some 25 million keen consumers of this genre. They don't have an option to look at the content on the devices of their convenience. There lies an opportunity for us,' Tata told PTI in an interview.

With Discovery being a trusted name for decades in infotainment, Tata said the newly launched app has access to hours and hours of content, which will be available to viewers in India at a price of Rs 299 yearly.

'The cost of content is one of the biggest challenges for OTT platforms. The great part is that we have been in the market for so many years. We have a very rich library of content, something like 300,000 hours of content.

'We keep adding about 8,000 hours of content every year and lot of that content has never been seen in this part of the world. Hence the cost of content is pretty much negligible in comparison to some of the other players,' she added.

Another key feature of this direct-to-consumer app is the option of eight languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu, said Issac John, business head digital (South Asia), Discovery.

'We have strived hard to make sure that we give lots of options for different languages to at least 70 per cent of the population of India. So the shows on the app are available in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada and Malayalam and going forward we will continue to build this bank further,' John said.

'Discovery Plus is sort of an idea that is curated for India. The entire library has been looked at from the objective of India what will actually work in India,' added Tata.

In an age of information explosion and dipping attention spans, John said, to attract the consumer, the platforms must be able to offer them a gripping story in as short a time as possible.

This is why the 'Shorts' section was created for the app.

'The section called 'Shorts' will be the first time on any Discovery product where we have customised to 23 minute-long very thrilling and self-contained stories. It could be as simple as 'Watch how Alaskan dogs drivers sledge in the snow', then it will have a link to the full episode. If you find that interesting, you can visit that link,' he said, adding the option of liking and sharing via WhatsApp will also be available to magnify their reach.

John also took consumers choice into consideration like what they would like to see on Discovery Plus app.

'The obvious favourites were Bear Grylls, Food Factory, etc. We also created a section for 14 year olds called 'Mindblown' where you will see the collections of topics such as space, black holes, elephants, etc.' Superstar Rajinikanth's TV debut 'Into The Wild With Bear Grylls' was a major coup for Discovery and Tata said the experience for both the brand and the actor was phenomenal.

'After the success of the PM Modi episode and that we were walking towards driving are content philosophy of 'Fewer, Bigger, Better', we were looking to create more content of similar kind obviously with big names -- differentiated and probably never been seen before in a particular avatar,' she said.

Rajinikanth fit the bill perfectly, she added.

'The fact that he is making his TV debut and now obviously digital debut too on the back of our brand was a big story for us as well as him. The episode has come out fabulously. It really worked out well for him as well. Content like this cuts across genres, audiences, languages and sections of society,' Tata added. PTI RDS RDS BK BK