Author: Brahmanand S Siingh
few years, from Bombay to New York, everywhere, the advertising skyline was
clearly being dominated by the OTT behemoths. Past few years, with the rise of
OTT giants like Amazon and Netflix, traditional cinema distribution had been fearing
the day when even blockbusters perhaps would go directly to streaming. That it
would happen so abruptly, however, was completely unforeseen.
films like Gulabo Sitabo & Shankuntala Devi (Amazon Prime), Ghoomketu
featuring Anurag Kashyap & Nawazuddin Siddiqui on Zee5, producers and acquisition
professionals working overtime on direct-to-Netflix and so on, the digital
release has suddenly become the norm.
larger-than-life star-studded films like Sooryavanshi or 83, like its Hollywood
counterparts in the James Bond or Mission Impossible franchise can perhaps
afford to hold back. But, by and large, producers are opting to release online
to avoid crowded cinema schedule later in the year, even if things get back to
people locked-down, together with family, consumption has gone up remarkably
for all OTT platforms. OTT are giving families more choice, while
high-definition TVs and snazzy surround-sound speakers are helping them improve
the living-room experience. In times when all other business has gone for a
tail spin, OTT is not only surviving but thriving. Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar,
Zee5 … these has become the most popular names in the household pop-culture
not just in India, the streamers have grown at an extraordinary rate. According
to a report a month back, Netflix added close to 16 million subscribers in just
a few months, taking its worldwide total to 183 million. That Amazon and
Netflix have been neck to neck is well-known but Disney Plus, a comparative
recent entrant, is already, one fourth of the Netflix number.
come and go but there’s no theatrical experience, no dark auditoriums, no
blockbuster, larger-than-life experience. And for a long time to come, at least
in 2020, this will be part of the new normal that everyone is talking about.
question is, other than a good theatrical experience, are you missing the
greasy (and unimaginative and extremely costly) food range which makes a hole
of easily 0.5-1k per person? You can have much more exciting, tasty and
economical snacking and ice-creaming at home while having the control to pause
a film at your will.
answer is, we have to accept that the content consumption is changing and we
have to adapt to the new reality. Very likely, for those who already haven’t,
people will be investing in better LEDs, projectors and sound system and home
theatres to come as close as possible to a good cinematic experience.
breakthrough in film festival programming …
We are One, a coming-together of so many film festivals and streaming festival
films on YouTube has opened up a new dimension of convenience at the slight
cost of a festival experience. Suddenly, you are not bothered about travel,
about tickets, about rush-lines and entries, about bookings, about sold-out
tickets for all your favorite movies. Any number of viewers are welcome. You
can log in anywhere during the premiere or a little later or in the middle of
the night, as and when you may please. If you can have a good home theatre,
this is perhaps a blessing-in-disguise occasion for film festival lovers and
film lovers especially, who were getting increasingly irritated by the changing
norms of ticketing, booking and sold-out notices within minutes of the website
opening for booking, at practically all film festivals, from Cannes to Berlin
to Toronto to Mumbai and Goa.
traditional ways of making, distributing and exhibiting movies? What could be
the long term financial implications?
Industries around the world are grappling with these questions. Will the USD 40
billion plus industry let go off a business and an experience that people world
over crave for. People definitely are human. And virtual integration will be
the way. They will need to return to the theatrical experience, I’m quite
hopeful about that. And in all likelihood, we all will return to theatres,
though not anytime soon for sure.
as and when the normal theatre going thing revives, filmmakers will have to
give people a reason to go to the cinema back again. The larger-than-life films, will still have
its theaters. The 3D-experience is not likely to rule the home viewing anywhere
very near. However, the scenario would have shifted to the already happening
OTT for sure. Films and its business equations would have changed a bit for
Siingh feels passionately about Music, Cinema, Literature, Entrepreneurial
Spirit, Excellence, Innovation, Communication, Communication Gaps, Emotional
Intelligence or the lack of it, in our daily lives. He is also a big advocate
of learning how to manage Change, which in these difficult times, are only too,
and speaker. He has published extensively thousands of articles across 30
prominent newspapers, magazines and journals and now writes regular authored articles
on life, education and leadership. Known for making award-winning feature films
and feature-documentaries on a range of subjects like RD Burman, Jagjit Singh,
Human Trafficking & Child Labor, Backpacking travelling, Educational
Excellence, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s and many others, he is a much sought-after
speaker on panels and writer across platforms.