Builders for Bharat

How STAGE is Riding the OTT Tide With Vernacular Entertainment

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As regional-language content begins to eclipse mainstream offerings, a seismic shift is transforming India's OTT landscape. Amid this cultural renaissance, one startup is making waves by celebrating the rich tapestry of regional identities through digital content. STAGE, an OTT platform, is riding the crest of this sweeping change, redefining entertainment by focusing on the unique cultural nuances of India's myriad languages and dialects.

Founded on the premise that India is an amalgamation of many "countries" within a country, STAGE emerged from the realisation that linguistic diversity is at the heart of cultural identity. While most OTT platforms in India cater primarily to Hindi and English audiences, STAGE identified a significant gap in the market: the underrepresentation of content in regional languages and dialects. This insight led to the creation of a platform dedicated to producing and promoting regional-language content that resonates with local audiences.

This trend is not limited to STAGE. The entire OTT landscape in India is witnessing a significant shift towards regional content. For the first time in 2023, regional OTT content volumes exceeded those of Hindi language content, according to a recent FICCI-EY report. This milestone highlights the growing appetite for diverse linguistic content among Indian viewers.

Content is increasingly transcending language barriers, with industry discussions indicating that between 20% and 50% of consumers now watch content in more than one language.

This surge in viewership is driven by rising internet penetration and access to smartphones in India's tier 2 and 3 cities, making OTT platforms more accessible than ever before.

There are over 60 OTT platforms in India, with 30% of OTT originals operating in regional languages. This number is expected to rise to 50% this year, according to experts. The data underscores the expanding market for regional content and the increasing recognition of its value.


Recognizing the trend, STAGE strategically positioned itself to capitalise on the growing demand for regional content. What sets STAGE apart is its ability to create an entire film industry from the ground up, unlike incumbents who distribute pre-produced films. This innovative approach, combined with their ownership of content, grants them a first-mover advantage and a unique position in the supply-driven OTT market.

Key differentiators: 

Niche Focus: Unlike other OTT platforms that primarily target mainstream Hindi and English content, STAGE focuses on regional languages and dialects that are often overlooked.

Frugal Innovation: STAGE believes in creating high-quality regional cinema at frugal costs, challenging the notion that big budgets are necessary for great content.

First-Principles Approach:  STAGE is building entire film industries in regions where none existed before.

Focus on Short-Film Format: While other players emphasize long-form content to retain viewers, STAGE is concentrating on creating compelling cinema within a concise 60-90-minute format.

STAGE currently has over 1.2 million paying subscribers from Haryana alone, and is adding 250,000 new subscribers each month to its platform. This growth signals the viability and potential of their subscription model in the regional market, dispelling the long-held myth that there is no paying audience for regional content.

As STAGE continues to grow, it is set to revolutionize the regional content industry of Bharat, proving that there is a vast, untapped audience eager for authentic, locally resonant entertainment.

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