–Kakali Das |
Web Series are quite in the rage now; almost everybody is a subscriber of either Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Alt Balaji or of any other OTT (Over-the-top) media platforms. The web series, in a way, have tried to fill the vacuum that was created after the advent of YouTube and the gradual content deterioration in television. If we recall the times back to 2015-2016 when the telecom giant, Reliance Jio, made its entry into the Indian market with high speed internet and unlimited data packages, there induced a heavy demand and supply situation. Suddenly the Indians or the Youth, for that matter, found at our disposal a medium, the high speed internet, with which we had no clue of what to be done. As there was a creation of demand and supply, we started watching movies, surfing YouTube, but there still was a void yet to be filled up. With the advent of TV series in the Indian Web scene, we have found a large number of online users who find TV series a very reliable medium of entertainment.
One of the biggest advantages of viewing Web Series on the internet portals is that it is devoid of any time restrictions; it isn’t time bound. We had to schedule our entire day before, create a rigid time table, follow a decorum if we had to watch a good movie or anything of our likings and so that we didn’t miss it. For a student, a working professional who had such jam-packed daily schedule, if the demand of the situation was met, only then we were able to watch the movies during that time. We all had witnessed our Mothers scheduling her entire day so that her household chores did not collide with one another and could watch her ‘favourite’ Ekta Kapoor’s daily soaps on Starplus, Zee Tv etc, or the serials aired on Ramdhenu Channel. From emerging out of something which demanded such rigidity to habituating ourselves to the internet-oriented entertainment which provides democracy, it has been quite a journey. While travelling, during office breaks, amidst boredom we are free to watch anything for such a short span and then resume later in our own desired time.
Another reason for why I consider entire web series or the OTT platforms dominating the entertainment scenario in the near future is because of its affordability. If we go and watch a movie in a good theatre or hall, the amount of money that is needed to be paid for a ticket, let alone the cost of beverages, is equal to the amount of money by which a month worth of subscription can be bought. And almost all the movies that are released today are made available on all OTT platforms. And more so, during the lockdown period certain movies were launched in these online portals, like ‘Axone’, which has become quite popular and ranks in the top 10 today. Moreover, the availability of options like sharing of multiple screens by multiple users in platform like Netflix makes it economically viable. A subscription of $650 permits sharing of two screens and hence the amount can easily be split up between two persons and enjoy uninterrupted mode of entertainment throughout.
Thirdly, the cumulative amount of revenue that is generated from the online portals as per the estimates of the large number of studies online is more than $5000 crores – a huge number by any margin. I fail to think of any kind of an entertainment medium that has been able to cater to the needs of the people and to catch the pulse of the youth in less than a decade.
Furthermore, if the interface of the online portals is concerned, it is very user friendly. I have been a subscriber of Netflix and Hotstar since 2019 and Netflix, according to me has the best user interface – no lags, no speed issues, no any problem while viewing it.
If I share my experience in viewing web series during this lockdown, it has been quite informative for me. I finished watching a very insightful and an informative documentary series, “Coronavirus Explain” on Netflix yesterday. As we are much aware of the impact of this pandemic on our lives, life has been very tough in the last 70-80 days, people have been dying. After the 19th and 20th century, since the Bubonic Plague (Black Death) and Spanish Flu, this pandemic due to Coronavirus has caught us off guard, challenged the entire world of its existence. This particular small series trace the entire journey of the virus named Covid19, how scientists are in a rage against time in finding out a vaccine. The other series is “Pandemic”, too available on Netflix – it helps us in understanding how viruses have been existing along with the humans and at times they move from one body to another shaping way towards an epidemic. This has happened in the history and in the next 40, 50, 60 years’ people will do research about this period of time where our economy is too low and an air of despondency settling over the country. Watching these two series would give you/us a good understanding of viruses, pandemics and epidemics so that you/we don’t fall prey to the fake news that have been circulated on any social media platforms. The next series that I would mention is “Inside Bill’s Brain” on Netflix as well. Bill Gates, as we know, is a tech giant who has now moved towards building his own Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation where they have unleased a war against Polio and the current Pandemic. They are engaging themselves in the enormous amount of research as to how they can develop a vaccine. In the series, it’s depicted beautifully how a person like Bill Gates thinks and struggles with the malice in the form of Polio or any other diseases. I would suggest the youths largely in the age group of 18-24 to watch it, as particularly during this age we form opinions, be it societal, economic, or political. Another one of the most interesting series is “South Park” on Netflix – an American animated sitcom which revolves around four boys and their exploits in and around the town. The show is famous for its profanity and dark, surreal humour that satirizes a wide range of topics, be it political or social, vehemently portrays the hypocrisy, misogyny, racism, body shaming that have been prevalent in the society. The sitcom acts a movement, a revolution against the evils of the world – the people and the society – in the guise of satire.
There are amazingly entertaining contents on Netflix for kids as well. A section particularly for children is available where they can watch various good cartoons and engage themselves with it. But it has to be ensured that the child lock remains on while handing the cellphone to the kids. Otherwise it can be extremely harmful for them since there are a majority of mature, exploitive contents easily accessible in the adult section.