There’s a new Idian streaming service in town – but its offerings include neither blockbuster films nor the latest television shows.
Instead, IN10 Media’s DocuBay steers its focus to the “neglected child” of the visual medium, documentaries, the service’s Chief Operating Officer Akul Tripathi told Scroll.in.
“We were looking at new things and somewhere in the space of entertainment and documentaries are kind of a neglected child,” said Tripathi, who has developed the platform along with Aditya Pittie, the Managing Director at the Mumbai-headquartered IN10 Media. “Everybody has it but nobody wants to own up to it. So we decided it was a good place to fill up and we did some research and we thought that it was an idea waiting to happen.”
A preview of the service was given to an international community of documentary creators and distributors in Cannes, France, in April. The subscription-based service will be launched in July, but a beta version of the website is up, with trailers and previews of the documentaries that will be on offer.
Apart from Indian content, titles from across the world, including Croatia, Norway, Brazil, Germany and China, have been sourced for DocuBay. The offerings include Marjolein Busstra’s I Love My Muslim, about a 62-year-old Dutch woman who converts to Islam to marry a 33-year-old Libyan freedom fighter, Theo Kamecke’s Moonwalk One, which revisits Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 space mission and Mattias Klum’s Vamizi Cradle of Coral, which follows a group scientists who try to save coral reefs in the Vamizi Island in Mozambique.
“There is a globe full of people we are working with to get the documentaries,” Tripathi said. “We are reaching out to documentary filmmakers. We are also speaking to distributors, catalog owners and viewing as many documentaries as possible. There is a team of international collaborators, partners and consultants.”
Films on DocuBay are indexed by genre and the categories include nature, science, biography, culture, action, humanity and travel. The selection has been tailored to suit the tastes of well-informed urban audiences, Tripathi said. “ The documentaries needed to be relevant and interesting,” he elaborated. “There is also great emphasis in the entire app on discovery. It is a place for viewers to explore and discover new documentaries. The process of selection was for urban audiences who are aware of issues. We are also looking at ways to relate to this large community or tribe of people who are connected virtually.”
The crowded over-the-top service market in India has international players such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video sharing space with home-grown services including Hotstar, Zee5, AltBalaji, Eros Now, MX Player and others.
DocuBay aims to set itself apart by focusing on non-fiction content. “We have less clutter of titles and more thought behind curation,” Tripathi said. “We believe that this is the way for the future where we will see an increase in interest in such documentaries. With any of the horizontal offering, you don’t know what is going to come next and what will be of interest to you. But we are focussed on what we are offering and as a viewer you know what to expect.”
The documentary market in India is waiting to be tapped, according to Tripathi. “Globally, there is definitely an interest [in documentaries] through content markets like festivals,” he added. “In India, there is an interest, but the ease of finding of documentaries is not so much. There is also a popular misconception that documentaries are boring. However, documentaries have come a long way in terms of its making and storytelling.”