Thanks to cheap data plans, quality content, and competitive marketing, web series is officially thriving in India. Gone are those days when family members used to flock together to watch a series on television, and missing an episode meant taking updates from others.
Recent surveys also underline the preference for online content. A survey conducted by Chrome Data Analysis & Media unveils that 44% prefers watching exclusive online content. An Ofcom report suggests broadcast TV viewership by 4 – 24-year-olds fell 33% between 2010 and 2016.
A survey by the Diffusion Group (TDG) reveals that SVOD services are more popular among 18-24-year-olds. Though 57% of those surveyed chose traditional pay-tv over SVOD, around 66% 18-24-year-olds and 54% 25-34-year-olds prefer SVOD services.
The disinterest in traditional television among the youth has led to the rise of on-demand services like Amazon, Netflix and Hulu to name a few. The freedom to choose what, when, and where (in which device) to watch for a fraction of the cost of most cable subscriptions is one of the primary reason for the rise of over-the-top (OTT) content providers. The high rate of mobile and wireless broadband penetration also contributes to the rise.
With so many web series across various OTT service providers, choosing a host of ‘must watch’ is difficult. To make the task easier, we list the most popular digital original television shows based on audience demand across India:
1. 13 Reasons Why (Netflix): Produced by July Moon Productions, 13 Reasons Why is an American mystery teen drama web television series. The series revolves around Clay Jensen, a high school student, and his romantic interest Hannah Baker, who commits suicide after a series of traumatic and demoralizing circumstances
2. House of Cards (Netflix): Based on a novel by Michael Dobbs, House of Cards is an American political thriller. First aired on February 1, 2013, the final season of the web series with six episodes will be released in 2018.
3. Inside Edge (Amazon Prime): Based on Mumbai Mavericks, a fictional T20 cricket team, Inside Edge captures the world of cricket and entertainment. First aired on July 10, 2017, the Indian-American web television series follows the twists and turns in the lives of powerful characters.
4. Bose: Dead/Alive (AltBalaji): Spread over 9 episodes of 20 minutes each, the series is a well-researched story of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his allegedly mysterious death.
5. Pitchers (TVF Play): Launched in 2015, Pitchers features in the IMDB’s Top 250 TV Series List. It traces the lives of four young professionals who quit their jobs to venture out into the wild entrepreneurial world.
6. Baked (ScoopWhoop): Produced by ScoopWhoop Talkies and Pechkas Pictures, Baked is an account of the misadventures of three university flatmates who decide to start a midnight food delivery service.
7. Life Sahi Hai (Luv Films): Revolving around four guys, the sitcom explores the hilariously challenging situations they land themselves in every time they deal with their bosses, girlfriends, or each other. Living independently for the first time, they realize that their new-found freedom doesn’t come for free. The first season of the web series aired in 2016, and the second season in 2018.
8. Stranger Things (Netflix): First aired on July 16, 2016 Stranger Things, set in the fictional town of Hawkins, focuses on the investigation into the disappearance of a young boy amid supernatural events.
9. Sense8 (Netflix): The American web fiction drama traces the story of eight strangers from different parts of the world. These strangers suddenly get linked mentally and emotionally. The series explores subjects like politics, identity, sexuality, gender, and religion.
10. Man’s World (Yash Raj Films): A ‘what if’ series, Man’s World traces the journey of a man walking in women’s shoes, in their world. The series, which portrays what if women treat men the way men treat them, is a comedy with an underlying social message.