Getting small films to make a GudSho of it on OTT

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on July 12, 2021

New platform from Chennai-based CONTUS will exclusively premiere content in four South Indian languages

Small films often struggled to get a theatrical release even in pre-Covid times. This was more so in the Tamil and Telugu industries, which churn out close to 200 new films each year, with smaller films often crowded out of theatres by the big-budget, star-studded releases.

The pandemic exacerbated this problem, with prolonged theatre shutdown on one hand and lack of interest from big OTT platforms on the other, leaving hundreds of small-budget films in the lurch.

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To help more producers release and monetise their content, Chennai-based product SaaS company CONTUS has launched ‘GudSho’, an OTT platform that will exclusively premiere content in four South Indian languages — Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.

“Even if you take all the large OTT players who are now focusing on regional content, they might, at best, acquire 15-20 titles; but there are hundreds of interesting small titles that will never get a chance in these platforms. We are focusing on such content,” said Sriram Manoharan, Founder of GudSho.

“Global OTT platforms are predominantly present in 8-10 major metros and, that too, with a very little user base. Our goal is to take this platform beyond the metros to Tier 2 and 3 cities of the country,” he added.

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For Manoharan, the foray into OTT is a natural progression since his company CONTUS offers self-hosted OTT streaming solutions for broadcasters, distributors and content owners across the world.

In April 2021, Manoharan launched GudSho, which already has over 100 movies in its library including critically acclaimed Malayalam films like The Great Indian Kitchen and Papas, among others.

“We are in talks for 100-plus titles in all the four languages but primarily in Tamil and Telugu,” Manoharan said, adding, “We should be able to do 30-40 good titles in the next 12 months.”

The OTT platform has allocated ₹50 crore for content acquisition — each in the range of ₹1-5 crore — over the next six months.

Monetisation options

For content producers, GudSho will offer three monetisation options — outright purchase, assured guarantee, and revenue share.

“The revenue model, however, will be decided on the quality of each content, which will include the script, artists, cost of production, marketability and the potential market value of the content,” Manoharan said.

GudSho works on a pay-per-view model. In addition to its library of free content, it offers paid content starting from ₹5 a movie.

“In metro cities, people are ready to spend ₹200 or even ₹400 per month for OTT, but in the suburban areas that model is not viable,” Manoharan said, adding, “That’s why we have launched pay-per-view model so people can pay only for their favourite content.”

Published on July 12, 2021

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