How India’s OTT Platforms Leverage Young Adult Content – Leisure News
Kuchh young adult mein bata dijiye (Present us something like young adults). “Creator Abhishek Yadav has heard this request enough times to realize that he is now the very thing he avoids writing – a stereotype. With three hit shows under his belt—Kota Factory (2019-2021, TVF Play/Netflix), Daze Youth Hostel (2019-, Amazon Prime Video) and Campus Newspapers (2022-, MX Player)—Yadav, according to the industry, knows the pulse of India’s youth. A graduate of IIT Bombay, Yadav joined The Viral Fever (TVF) and began developing shows that “cause young adults who want to see themselves on screen”. Interestingly, however, it wasn’t just college students who were drawn to these series. “I realized that even three or four years after graduating, you’re still stuck in this world,” Yadav says. “Income tax still hasn’t touched you. You thrive on longing for the first crush, the first fight.
According to the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, 46.9% of India’s population is now under the age of 25, but surprisingly we have very little programming for and about young people. This is in stark contrast to the United States, where shows like Euphoria (2019-, Disney+ Hotstar), Riverdale (2017-, Netflix) and stranger things (2016-, Netflix) dominate the pop culture landscape. However, our burgeoning OTT industry has finally begun to recognize young adults as a demographic to woo. Although TVF has made young adult entertainment its strong point with more shows, including flames (2018-2019, MX Player), Romance College (2018-, SonyLIV) and immature (2019-, MX Player) – the responsibility of developing content for the 18-24 age group no longer rests with them alone.
Netflix, for its part, returns with season two of Mismatched (2020-), a college romance that made stars of its lead duo, Prajakta Koli and Rohit Saraf. The streaming giant also recently announced The Archies, a live-action musical feature film directed by Zoya Akhtar and based on the iconic comic. So there is Eternally confused and hungry for love, a series about a 24-year-old navigating adulthood and the daunting world of romance. On March 4, Lionsgate Play released their second original, Jugaadistana college drama with politics, friendship and romance as its main themes.
A poster for Lionsgate’s “Jugaadistan”
For Mrinalini Khanna, Vice President, Originals, Lionsgate India, Jugaadistan captures “the range not only of emotions but also of responsibilities that the younger generation faces, as well as the ambition and aspirations that they have”. With an ensemble cast that includes Ahsaas Channa, an actress whose popularity is built on young adult shows such as Girls hostel (2018-, SonyLIV), Daze Youth Hostel and Kota Factory—Jugaadistan seeks to move beyond the genre’s basic romantic tropes and “capture the zeitgeist of this generation,” says Khanna. “It’s only when you’re young that you’re not afraid of anything. You make decisions on the spur of the moment. It’s a beautiful spirit to catch,” she adds. showcasing characters who embody the diversity of people we meet in college People of this generation are very keen to identify who they are and are open about what they do They want to answer the big questions of life.
Yadav says he’s also noticed that creative heads at streaming platforms are now more receptive to his ideas. “Before, they were like ‘Log yeh nahin dekhenge (people won’t watch this), so include older characters and give them some prominence,'” he says. “I had to insist that we didn’t need it. They now understand what I am saying. It may also be because the numbers speak for themselves. After leaving TVF, Yadav created Campus Newspapers, which garnered over 100 million views in just two weeks after its release. Starring Saloni Gaur aka digital creator Salonayyy, the 12-episode youth drama centers on five friends on campus. Unsurprisingly, Yadav is already busy developing season two.
A photo from Yadav’s “Campus Diaries”