A down and out artist creates a fake ~500 note. And his tryst with crime begins. Krishna D K and Raj Nidimoru’s Farzi (Amazon Prime Video) starring Shahid Kapoor and Vijay Sethupathi is a gripping watch.
It is also the most watched Hindi show on streaming platforms in India in the first half of 2023, says Streaming Originals in India: Mid-Year Review, a report from Ormax Media. More than 37 million people watched at least 30 minutes or more of the show.
Priyanka Ghose and Sandeep Modi’s The Night Manager, produced by Banijay Asia for Disney+ Hotstar, is a close number two. At third spot is Himank Gaur’s Taaza Khabar starring YouTube star Bhuvan Bam again on Disney+ Hotstar. It has five of the top 10 Hindi shows on OTT.
When it comes to Hindi films that were released direct-to-OTT, Netflix does very well with three in the top 10 — the quirky Kathal, Mission Majnu and Lust Stories 2. Among international shows, Citadel (Amazon Prime Video), starring Priyanka Chopra tops. The big surprise is the inclusion of the limp, critically trashed season 5 of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.
The ~21,600-crore (ad plus subscription) Indian streaming market is one of the fastest growing in the world. With over 510 million unique visitors (Comscore) and over 113 million subscribers (Media Partners Asia), it has been the focus of interest and over ~9,200 crore worth of investment in programming in 2021. Therefore, the Ormax report matters.
Ormax looks at the top shows and films on three parameters — viewership, marketing buzz and content strength. This piece focusses on viewership based on a weekly track. Over a six-month period this converts to a sample of about 5,000 people that is projected onto the population (see charts). “We are tracking the Tamil and Telugu markets but not reporting on them yet because the sample is too small,” says Shailesh Kapoor, CEO, Ormax Media.
Many within the creative community have voiced reservations about Ormax data. Hansal Mehta (Scam 1992, Scoop) says that both completion rate and comparative data (how a show did on a free versus paid-for service) is crucial if these rankings are to make sense.
Kapoor points out that completion rate is something that only the platforms (Netflix, SonyLIV, Zee5) would have. On pay versus free users’ consumption, he says, “The tool is designed to capture original stuff. Aside from MX Player there were no major shows on AVOD (advertising video-on-demand); most are from SVOD (subscription video-on-demand). Now with JioCinema, originals have also moved to AVOD, and smaller towns are getting added.”
Why is YouTube, India’s largest OTT, not there? Since the tool only looks at original shows/films, YouTube rarely features except when a TVF show like Aspirants (season 1) is doing well on it, says Kapoor.