Yes, content is king and the lovers of international TV series and Movies in India have never had it so good, with Hotstar, Amazon Prime and Netflix bringing them some of the latest and best titles. Well, more than just the digital content platforms can dangle that content carrot, it seems: popular DTH platform TataSKY has come up with an offering that is good enough to match any gripping international TV drama. However, while the other digital content platforms may have a sizeable on-demand library, Tata SKY will make its offerings available one strong international series at a time. This is its new pop-up offering branded the Tata Sky World Series, and it launches on Sunday, the 19th of March, with the gripping, gritty Italian language crime drama – Gomorrah (Gomorra –La Serie).
Gomorrah is set in the suburbs of Naples in Italy, and focuses on the inside story of the Camorra, the fierce Neapolitan crime organization, and is told through the eyes of Ciro Di Marzio (Marco D’Amore), the right hand of the clan’s godfather, Pietro Savastanno (Fortunato Cerlino).
The hard hitting, realistic Italian language crime drama will be the first of some fine, fresh and exciting global content from the UK, Cuba, Norway, Czech Republic and South Korea, exclusively for all its SD and HD subscribers in India throughout the year. On both, the Tata SKY app and its Set top boxes, Gomorrah will be available for one month. At no extra cost. And hey, there’s no catch in that ‘for one month at no extra cost’ statement. That’s the scheduling. Each series will be available for one month – all episodes, all seasons. For one month. After that, another series will, well, pop up, and will be the sole series available. For one month. At no extra cost. Through the year.
Right. Got that.
After the Godfather series, every gangster movie and TV series has looked and felt like a serious awe-struck aspirant to the Puzo throne. The Netflix original Narcos, with its real locations, excellent casting, fast-paced, page-turner screenplay and the language – and its merely-for-effect near-pornographic adult scenes notwithstanding – was a memorable TV series. To my mind, having been an avid binge consumer of crime drama on digital content platforms, Gomorrah can eyeball any crime drama anywhere into submission.
Actually, Gomorrah the TV series was produced in 2014 ; those who mainline on good international content would probably know that it was Gomorrah the film that was released six years earlier, in 2008. I had watched it on DVD around a year after it was released. Both, the movie and the TV series, were based on the best-selling book by the journalist Roberto Saviano. The novel has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. And even though Gomorrah the movie won the 2008 Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, to me, having just come out of a two-episode screening of Gomorrah La Serie, I can tell you that it is better by far than the award-winning movie of the same name.
Gomorrah is remarkable television – realistic, with a brilliant screenplay, smoothly, starkly, impactfully choreographed and edited, shot in actual mafiosi-lair drug-ghetto locations, with powerful characters etched with miserly economy – this is the how-to of creating gripping crime drama. Oh, and the production values. While you will have to also literally read the pulsating canvas for the English subtitles of the lyrical-plosive Italian language, pay closer attention to the sound track. It is also a lesson for the film maker on how brilliantly live, sync sound can be used, seamlessly, without levels spiking-falling, achieved through smooth, brilliantly controlled technique. And the background music.
As I said, I’ve watched two episodes, and I’m sure that by the 21st of March — two days after it becomes available on Tata SKY as a pop up service — I’ll have binged through the entire series.
Obviously, Tata SKY will use only its DTH platform to push awarness of this. I hope they use their barker channel aggressively. This is a show that deserves and can command eyeballs, provided it is promoted well. One wonders if the sales team at Tata Sky will also push for in-video ads. One hopes it can make that breakthrough. After all, this is a fully free offering for all its subscribers. And if Tata Sky does manage to sell some video ads within the Gomorra episodes, one hopes the ads don’t start at the beginning of a video you’ve just settled down to watch — that terribly irritating intrusion was something YouTube had introduced and, one hears, is now poised to jettison.
This free pop-up service from Tata Sky is acknowledgement of how seriously the small, digital mobile screen is hitting out at traditional ‘fixed’ big-screen television viewing. Yes, eMarketer announced earlier today TV and Print, in that order, will continue to rule the advertising space in India on revenues, but digital is galloping and it’s just another four, max five short years, when the tables will be turned. Overturned. When smartphone numbers rise to a level that makes the digitally mobile content watchers the majority.
Today, that relic, the Sony Walkman with audio cassette recorder, which once sold for around 2000 rupees, is selling, probably as a working curio item, for as high as 26000 rupees on Amazon. Check it out now.
Want to guess what the super thin, flat, curved large tvs will sell for, say, 7 years down the line?
Meanwhile, remember to check out billiant Italian crime drama Gomorrah. This truly bingeworthy exclusive changes monthly on Tata Sky World Series, the new pop-series FOC for TataSky subsricbers.