OTT a new face of Indian cinema, posing threat to cinema hall owners
As the cinema halls continue to be closed amid lockdown 4.0 and delayed movie releases, Indian entertainment sector is facing huge losses. The cinema hall owners fear that digital platforms might take over the hall going trend and make a serious dent once screens resume operations.
Big budget Bollywood movies for the year like ‘Shakuntala Devi’, ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ and ‘Laxmi Bomb’ are releasing on OTT (over-the-top media) platforms, bypassing the traditional screen release. This has caused a stir in the industry whether the decision was right or producers should have waited.
As the lockdown in India is in its fourth phase, with almost 2 months in, there is no glimpse of respite anywhere in the near future. In India, cinema is a habit, but a continued breaking of this habit for 2-3 months more is enough to make people forget the tradition of watching cinema in theatre.
Experts predict that even a 25% reduction in footfall in theatre goers can cause a significant hit to the cinema business in India. The OTT platforms provide a more convenient and comfortable experience of movie watching. They are an antithesis of what the cinema halls provide – an appointment based experience.
India might face similar situation like China in cinema halls when reopened, experts predict. Recently China re-opened the cinema halls but experienced really low turnout leading to loss in business. Experts fear that this can be the fate of Indian cinema halls too once reopened.
The digital platforms provide a vast range of content, streaming at the comfort and safety of our homes. This is posing as a big threat to distributors and those in theatre business.
Digital platforms are catching up with the entertainment industry where people are feeling safer. With the amount of fear among people during this pandemic, will they ever feel safe going to cinema halls in future? This is a question that holds fate of the entertainment business in India.
People might not return to halls even after the normalcy is restored. This is a high possibility. The film makers are already experiencing the brunt of loss with each passing day of lockdown, as crores are invested in their productions.
OTT platforms are the new face of entertainment in India now, at least that is what feels like.