Box-office to AI-based data: How OTT is changing ideas on target audience

Earlier, filmmakers and producers were conscious of the ABC centres, and even made content that they believed would work for certain places. But has OTT changed the game?

When it comes to theatrical releases, especially in the case of commercial entertainers that are backed by stars, the reach of the film is more often than not determined by the film’s performance in Tier II and Tier III cities and towns in the country. Also known as the ABC classification of centres, filmmakers and actors even come up with specific content to win over audiences at these centres. At the same time, films are also exclusively made for the A centre or the metropolitan audience. But following the exponential growth of Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, is this system still relevant?


While it is difficult to get a unanimous answer on the subject, many filmmakers now believe that the content takes precedence over stars or the market in the case of digital releases. Speaking to TNM, director of hit Malayalam films such as Malik and CU Soon among others, Mahesh Narayanan, shares: “The Great Indian Kitchen is the best example from recent times that shows how content takes center-stage. The film’s reach was not just limited to the Malayalam speaking audience.”  


Producer SR Prabhu of Dream Warrior Pictures notes that the practice of targeting audiences in A, B and C centres in the country is no longer popular. “Nowadays, even with theatrical releases, filmmakers only plan when the film is releasing — that is, whether it is going to be released during a festival, on a weekday or on weekends, or as a release that’d serve as the highlight of the month,” he says. “Infrastructure played a key role in this model involving demarcation between different centres. Earlier, the theatres and even the print of the movies that reached B and C centres would be different from Tier I cities or towns but that has changed now,” he adds. SR Prabhu also points out that OTT has reduced the gap between the creator, producer and audience, thus widening the market. 



Mukasinayobye Grolliose

164 Blog posts