"I had to unlearn a lot of television learning to get into digital programming," this is how Ekta Kapoor started her keynote at vdonxt asia 2018 (a digital video convention organised by afaqs!). The joint managing director/ creative director, Balaji Telefilms, was on-stage to talk about her digital journey with ALTBalaji.
"TV has done a lot for me; it has given me a name and a brand, but in some ways it has also constrained me. There are a lot of limitations when you are making content for television and one of the biggest is that you will have to cater to a full home at one time," Kapoor added.
It is her understanding that every individual is different from one another and all have polarised tastes in this polarised society. "In the next couple of years, as more and more shows hit the digital screens, making one show for the entire house will be a little low on priority," She opined.
"We are very different people when we are with our families. With our mother, with our father, with our children; we try to present ourselves in a certain way. We are different when we are with our friends and we are extremely different when we are alone. Each one of us here has three different personalitiesp; TV, Films and Digital cater to our three different personalities," she shared.
"When we are watching TV, we do not want our sensibilities to be hurt and the common Indian sensibility is that when we are with our family, we want to uphold our high moral ground. So, when we are with family, we want to be the perfect parents and we want our parents to believe that we are the perfect children. When we are alone, we watch things we believe in or like," she said about consumer behaviour.
Kapoor believes that what we call digital is actually "personal television" where one watches what he or she wants to watch when they want to watch it. "This medium called digital has given us a chance to create and cater to individuals," she said.
"When we were launching ALTBalaji we decided we will launch with five different shows catering to five different communities. Out of the five we decided to continue with three and offer them more. Here (on ALT) you don't need the entire house or the masses to follow your content regularly. If a small community likes your content, mission accomplished," she added.
"I do not like 'Crown' (Netflix) I am a 'Game of Thrones' (HBO) audience. I am a Shonda Rhymes fan; you may not think I am an evolved viewer, but that's okay. I have a medium which respects a viewer like me and offers me what I like and that medium is digital," Kapoor feels this is how a viewer defines the digital medium.
"When I was entering TV, we used to have the discussion of when you have Doordarshan for free why would someone pay for cable channels and technology being a challenge etc. Well, I used to say back then that it is not the technology that will make everybody pay Rs 250 for channels, it is content that will make it happen. We had 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' which turned out to be a mass show. I am saying this today - it will take one show for all of us to start downloading apps, pay and consume content on digital platforms. Now I might make this content for ALTBalaji or Amazon Prime Video might make it, or Netflix or Viu or Hotstar, but someone will make a show, which will start a wave," she concluded.