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Last Updated : Feb 06, 2020 09:02 PM IST | Source:

Why video streaming platforms are betting big on the comedy space

The share of comedy content, in terms of originals, ranges from 15 to 40 percent on major OTTs including Netflix, Hotstar, SonyLiv, Amazon Prime, among others.

Amazon Prime Video came up with digital comedy reality series Comicstaan in 2018. A talent hunt for the next big stand-up comedian in its first week, became the most-watched show on the over the top (OTT) platform.

It was OML that had produced Comicstaan, along with shows like Zakir Khan-starrer Chacha Vidhayak Hai Humare, One Mic Stand, Pushpavalli and over 45 stand-up specials on Amazon and Netflix.

Betting big on the genre in OTT space, OML, a media and entertainment company, is coming up with more shows in the comedy category.


Talking to Moneycontrol, Gunjan Arya, Chief Executive Officer and board member at OML, shared the content line-up for 2020. It includes a dark-comedy show titled Afsos, which will be releasing on February 7, and an Ashish Shakya stand-up releasing the same day on Amazon Prime. There are also upcoming stand-ups by Kenny Sebastian, Kanan Gill and Kaneez Surka on Netflix.

So far, OML Entertainment has done 20 long-form shows, 45 stand-up specials, and over 300 short form videos. “In total, we have produced 200-plus hours of content for nine OTT platforms and even television,” said Arya.

What makes this genre lucrative for the digital space?

According to Arya, OTTs targeted the audience that was already consuming content on digital platforms. “That’s (digital platforms) where comedy, as a genre, had already engaged a big audience,” she said.

Platforms like YouTube and Facebook have revolutionized the comedy space, witnessing the transition of amateurs turning into professionals. Besides, they have given comedians access to an audience that people never knew could be tapped into.

While such an audience existed, there were limited ways to reach out to viewers, who are now making comedy a successful category in the digital space.

Reports suggest that the share of comedy content, in terms of originals, ranges from 15 to 40 percent on major OTTs including Netflix, Hotstar, SonyLiv, Amazon Prime, among others.

Amazon Prime, in 2017, had launched 14 originals in the comedy space, and boosted the genre with 20 more originals in 2018. Currently, it has as many as 40 stand-up comedy (Indian) specials.

Aided by OTTs, comedians and comic content are in high demand. On the digital front, a comic artist can earn by creating stand-up specials for streaming platforms, by brand integrations and collaborations, and such.

Before shutting shop, AIB was considered among the highest paid content producers for YouTube.

Comedy is not a new genre in India, with films and television banking on it for years together, and even now. Case in point will be films like Housefull 4, Bala, Dream Girl and TV shows like The Kapil Sharma Show.

Yet, it is the digital medium that has taken comedy to the deepest corners of India.

A one-hour special on a streaming service travels to WhatsApp as a three-minute clip, piquing the interest of viewers even from smaller towns.

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First Published on Feb 6, 2020 09:02 pm
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