Kaushik Das, Founder and CEO of AAO NXT, on Revolutionizing Digital Entertainment in Eastern India: From Traditional Sectors to OTT Triumph

Discover the inspiration behind AAO NXT, the challenges faced, and the vision for Odia storytelling in the global digital landscape in an exclusive interview with Kaushik Das.

Jun 27, 2024 - 20:40
Kaushik Das, Founder and CEO of AAO NXT, on Revolutionizing Digital Entertainment in Eastern India: From Traditional Sectors to OTT Triumph
Kaushik Das, Founder and CEO of AAO NXT

1. Can you share with us the inspiration behind founding AAO NXT, and how has the journey been so far in reshaping digital entertainment in Eastern India?

Certainly! The inspiration behind founding AAO NXT was deeply rooted in my passion for both technology and the rich cultural heritage of Odisha. Having witnessed the transformative power of digital platforms in global entertainment, I saw an immense opportunity to create a dedicated space for Odia content that celebrates our language, traditions, and stories. The journey so far has been nothing short of exhilarating. We embarked on this path to not just provide entertainment but to redefine how Odia narratives are perceived and appreciated globally. It's been a journey of challenges and triumphs, from establishing robust technological infrastructures to curating compelling content that resonates with our audiences. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, validating our belief that regional storytelling can captivate and engage viewers on a broader scale.

2. Your background includes managing director roles in traditional sectors like mining and construction. How did you transition into the digital entertainment industry, and what challenges did you face in establishing AAO NXT?

Transitioning from traditional sectors like mining and construction to the dynamic world of digital entertainment was a natural evolution for me. My experience in managing large-scale operations and navigating complex business environments equipped me with valuable skills in strategy, leadership, and resource management. However, venturing into the digital entertainment industry posed unique challenges. Establishing AAO NXT required substantial investments in technology, content acquisition, and talent recruitment. We had to build a team that shared our vision for promoting Odia culture through innovative storytelling while also ensuring our platform could deliver seamless and high-quality streaming experiences. Overcoming these challenges meant forging strategic partnerships with local creators and studios, investing in cutting-edge technology, and continuously adapting to the evolving demands of our audience.

3. AAO NXT has been recognized for its innovative content curation. Could you elaborate on how you select content that resonates with regional audiences while also appealing to broader demographics?

At AAO NXT, our content curation strategy revolves around authenticity, diversity, and relevance. We are committed to showcasing the multifaceted richness of Odia culture through a carefully curated selection of content. This includes AAO Original Odia Web Series, Original Odia Movies & Short Films, Classic Odia Movies, and soulful Odia Songs. Each piece of content undergoes rigorous evaluation to ensure it not only meets our high standards of storytelling but also resonates with both local audiences and viewers worldwide who appreciate regional narratives. We collaborate closely with filmmakers, writers, and artists who are passionate about showcasing Odisha's cultural heritage in a modern and engaging manner. Our goal is to offer a compelling blend of entertainment that appeals to diverse demographics while preserving the authenticity and essence of Odia storytelling traditions.

4. Securing partnerships with major production houses is crucial for content availability. Can you tell us about your strategy in forming these partnerships and how they contribute to AAO NXT’s success?

Our strategy in forming partnerships with major production houses revolves around fostering collaborative relationships based on shared vision and mutual benefits. We actively seek out partnerships with leading studios and filmmakers who align with our commitment to promoting Odia culture through compelling narratives. These partnerships are instrumental in ensuring a steady flow of high-quality content that enhances AAO NXT’s content library and enriches the viewer experience. By collaborating with established production houses, we gain access to a diverse range of stories, genres, and talent pools, enabling us to cater to the evolving tastes and preferences of our audience. These alliances not only contribute to AAO NXT’s success but also strengthen our position as a premier destination for Odia entertainment.

5. User experience is paramount in OTT platforms. What unique features or strategies has AAO NXT implemented to enhance viewer engagement and satisfaction?

At AAO NXT, we prioritize user experience by incorporating innovative features and personalized strategies that enhance viewer engagement and satisfaction. Our platform is designed with user-friendly interfaces that facilitate seamless navigation and content discovery. We offer personalized recommendations based on viewer preferences and viewing history, ensuring that each user finds content that resonates with their interests. Additionally, we invest in interactive features, real-time updates on new releases, and community engagement initiatives to foster a sense of belonging among our audience. By continuously refining our technology and listening to user feedback, we strive to create a dynamic and immersive viewing experience that keeps our audience coming back for more.

6. You're passionate about showcasing Odisha’s cultural heritage through digital storytelling. How does AAONXT contribute to preserving and promoting regional culture, and what impact has this had on the local creative community?

At AAO NXT, our mission is deeply rooted in celebrating Odisha's rich cultural tapestry through digital storytelling. We curate a diverse range of content— from AAO Original Odia Web Series to classic Odia movies and soulful Odia songs— all designed to resonate with our audiences and showcase the essence of Odisha. By providing a platform for local filmmakers, writers, and artists to share their narratives, we not only preserve but also promote Odisha's cultural heritage on a global stage. This initiative has sparked creativity within the local creative community, empowering them to explore and express their talents while contributing to the socio-cultural fabric of our region.

7. Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for AAONXT in the global digital content market? How do you plan to maintain the platform’s competitive edge amidst international giants?

As we look to the future, our aspiration for AAO NXT is to establish it as a global platform for Odia entertainment, reaching audiences worldwide. We aim to continue expanding our content library with high-quality, culturally resonant productions that appeal not only to the Odia diaspora but also to global viewers interested in diverse cultural narratives. To maintain our competitive edge amidst international giants, we prioritize innovation in content delivery, user experience, and technological advancements. Collaborating with international partners, leveraging data-driven insights, and enhancing our marketing strategies are key pillars of our approach to staying relevant and competitive in the dynamic digital content market.

8. As a leader in the digital entertainment space, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to enter the OTT industry, especially in regional markets?

For aspiring entrepreneurs venturing into the OTT industry, particularly in regional markets, my advice would be to focus on three core principles: authenticity, innovation, and audience engagement. Authenticity in content is crucial— understand your audience's preferences and cater to their cultural sensibilities. Innovation should drive your approach, whether it's in content creation, distribution strategies, or user experience. Embrace technological advancements to enhance content delivery and viewer interaction. Lastly, prioritize audience engagement by fostering a community around your platform, listening to feedback, and continuously refining your offerings. Building strong partnerships with local talent and content creators will also be instrumental in establishing a sustainable presence in the competitive OTT landscape.

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