What are you watching?

When Netflix launched in India earlier this year, there was a lot of excitement around it, but it hasn’t really translated into people moving to web-based subscriptions for their fix of sitcoms and soap operas. Television remains the preferred form of entertainment.

However, that hasn’t stopped several major channels from bringing in video-on-demand services. The latest is VOOT, from Viacom-18 Digital Ventures. The ad-supported platform, available free on both mobile and web, will host content from across their network channels, and focus on creating original content for their site.

Gaurav Gandhi, chief operating officer of Viacom 18 Digital Ventures, says, “We are focussed on four large content buckets: shows for kids, our network content, VOOT originals and exclusives from the platform. We have launched in India and will concentrate on that, but we will go overseas at some point in time.”

The name stems from the internet slang “w00t”, which is used to express happiness or excitement. “In today’s world, there’s the whole story of happy addiction to content, like a show in this instance. That’s the whole premise of VOOT. The brand name conveys that we peddle happiness to the new world. The name was available on all platforms, so we went for it,” laughs Gaurav.

A repository of kids shows — Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Motu Patlu, Chhota Bheem and Pokemon — have been made available. Parents have the option of a child-lock code, to keep children from accessing content that’s unsuitable for them. Awkward, Catfish, Coke Studio, Bigg Boss and even Sasural Simar Ka are available online, in case you miss it on the usual TV time slot.

The original content includes a four-part web movie BadMan, featuring Gulshan Grover and Chunky Pandey and with music by Vishal Dadlani, and Sinskaari, a “sinful” talk show hosted by Alok Nath. While they carry Roadies, they’ve also created a parody called Soadies.

Totally, there will be over 17,000 hours of content available on the platform. It also acts as a social media network, where users can follow, share and “shout” about the videos, so others know what to expect. It’s a new digital world, and it is yet to be seen whether these video-on-demand platforms have an impact on the way India approaches entertainment.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 5:02:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/what-are-you-watching/article8537072.ece

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