Faced with uncertainty, Bollywood has taken the first step to venture into the unexplored territory of digital streaming platforms and content for film releases in the midst of this pandemic. This raised fears that digital platforms will soon replace the 9,530 cinema screens across India.
Famous Bollywood film critic Taran Adarsh told Sputnik that over-the-top (OTT) platforms are unlikely to eventually replace the big screen.
“I’m sure the producers have their reasons (for switching to exaggerated platforms for film releases), but the charm of big screens can never be replaced by digital platforms, to be very honest,” said the cinema analyst. for its box office updates on Twitter said.
Two Bollywood movies – Gulabo Sitabo and Shakuntala Devi – starring famous stars from the movie fraternity are slated to be released on the OTT Amazon Prime platform. The most awaited is the megastar Amitabh Bachchan and the sweetheart of Bollywood Ayushmann Khurrana with Gulabo Sitabo, which should be released on June 12.
Sharing her opinion on the matter, famed Bollywood Film analyst and director of the Mumbai Film Festival, Anupama Chopra, says that everyone wants to make a film for theaters, but the situation right now is difficult and followed by too many variables . As a result, more people in the film industry are likely to flee a movie for a while and explore the emerging arena of OTT platforms.
“Of course, more people will explore this (optional). If there is too much money at stake, it is an understandable decision that they (producers, directors) make,” said Anupama, who is also the founder of the digital platform. ‘Film Companion’.
Why cinema will keep its importance
Bollywood’s decision to embrace content streaming platforms has left theater owners discouraged. Several filmmakers have also gone to Twitter to complain about the lack of clarity on theatrical release and the filmmakers have no choice but to go digital.
All kinds of films are made, with and without superstars … many fail, few succeed. We must be careful not to judge or throw the ball to the failure of a business model, because it depends on subjective creative expression and the tastes of the public. Now with OTT, there is room for everyone.
Sameer Nair (@nairsameer) May 15, 2020
Just open up more possibilities and we should embrace that.
Hansal mehta (@mehtahansal) May 15, 2020
But in a major development, paving the way for a twist in history, the Multiplex Association of India has submitted an improved security and precautionary plan for cinemas to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and various government States.
The office of the chief minister of Maharashtra – home to the film city of Mumbai – said that the head of state, Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray, had interacted with artists and producers in the entertainment industry, particularly films. , theaters and Marathi TV series by videoconference and considered an action plan to revive filming and post-production activities if that includes standards of physical distancing and other precautions.
Taran Adarsh says that digital release of a film is not going to become standard practice for obvious economic reasons.
“From an economic point of view, once you release a film on OTT, you cannot release it in theaters. But if you release it in theaters, you can release it on satellite and on OTT as well”, said Adarsh.
India’s largest multiplex operator has declared that it will not broadcast films not intended for exclusive theatrical release.
The analyst also mentioned that Gulabo Sitabo is a very prominent film that is going on OTT, and they have lost not only theater in India, but also theater abroad. “They lost most of it.”
Being the world’s largest film producer, the Indian film industry was valued at nearly $ 2.4 billion in 2019, according to an analysis firm. Statista noted. Industry experts say it will hit $ 3.4 billion by 2024.
Similarly, highlighting India’s growing interest in cinema despite the emergence of OTT platforms, the number of tickets sold by the three main multiplex chains in India during the 2019 financial year increased by 23% by compared to the previous year to reach more than 200 million.
The emerging potential of OTT
Amazon Prime Video doubled its subscribers in India last June, widening its audience in small towns and cities, and indicates that the light film Gulabo Sitabo would be available for streaming in 200 countries.
However, the release of OTT is likely to deprive the movies of their box office revenues.
At the same time, in addition to the current need, the transition from film fraternity to content streaming platforms also comes at a time when OTT platforms are witnessing an unprecedented expansion of their subscriber base during lockdown.
According to Firm Velocity MR analysis, more than 75% of Indians purchased new subscriptions for over-the-top platforms (OTT) during the lockout period. While Amazon Prime saw a 67% increase in subscriptions, it was 65% for Netflix.
Meanwhile, we no longer see stars on the big screen but at home, engaged in usual household chores. How Bollywood will resuscitate after COVID-19?
“I’m just waiting for it. It depends on content that will appeal to the pan-Indian audience, which should also work very well on the big screen worldwide,” concluded Adarsh.