Red Chillies COO Gaurav Verma talks digital boom, audience engagement

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17 March 2022

Red Chillies COO Gaurav Verma talks digital boom, audience engagement

Gaurav Verma, a film producer and the COO at Shah Rukh Khan & Gauri Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment spoke on the emergence of OTT.

While being a film producer in a culturally rich and diverse nation like India is rewarding, it’s also challenging given the mix of demographics and tastes of different sets of audience.

It takes careful understanding of how the market operates and a constant lookout for the evolving taste of the audience to direct the resources towards content pieces that click with people, at large.

Gaurav Verma, a film producer and the Chief Operating Officer at Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, recently spoke on the emergence of OTT, changing awareness levels of the audience and how the Internet acts as a litmus test for content.

Drawing parallels between the mediums of OTT and cinemas, he says, “I think digital and theatrical are not any different. In terms of business they share a lot of similarities. Talking about empirical data, when we deliver a film after 14 or 15 months by the time that data is not relevant because the consumer trends change every Friday or now it is everyday (with OTT).”

“And if the taste is going to change that data becomes irrelevant by the time your film comes. You have to tell a story which you believe in which you think connects with you or will hopefully connect with the audience, it should be unique”, he adds.

A producer may hold the locus of control on a set but the learning never stops and it shouldn’t. In the age of the Internet, the flow of information is unprecedented, how one utilizes that information sets them apart from their contemporaries.

Gaurav explains, “Every time you make a film as a producer or as a director, you learn from the journey that you have been part of and you are engaging with content which is happening all across the world thanks to streaming platforms.”

He further states, “The awareness levels are changing and your experience is changing. You can see the audience engaging with the content, which leaves some impact and that is how you push the envelope.”

Elaborating how the Internet acts as a litmus test for films and web series, he says, “The engagement with the content is reflected on social platforms and it’s quite instant. I think not many people probably understand that the Internet works both ways, it’s not analog or digital, it is a balance of both.”

He continues, “On TV if one engages with a piece of content they can’t really track it but the Internet provides that where you can track everything about what’s working and what’s not working when the consumer has moved away so sometimes you can use that information to know if the script is good or a part of a film is working and it can help you to understand the lot of other things.”

Having a keen eye for new developments and content consumption patterns of the audience, can really work wonders in this day and age as per Gaurav, “You have to be aware of what’s happening and how consumers are interacting. When you make a film, it might get fabulous reviews but if it does not connect with the audience it is always going to be a child.”

“Today a lot of films and shows find it hard to survive and that makes people work much harder like the creators, producers, directors, actors or the writers. Anyone who’s working harder to deliver content will stay relevant for a long time. And digital is all about longer shelf life,” the producer concludes.