Films may run for less time in theatres, get on to OTT faster

By: |
September 06, 2021 3:00 AM

Although most states are allowing a 50% occupancy for theatres, there is some hesitancy on the part of viewers; especially those above 40 and typically buying high-priced tickets.

Analysts at Edelweiss point out OTT players are building their content libraries given the market opportunity. Foreign series including dubbed versions of Korean, German and Turkish series are a big draw, they observed.Analysts at Edelweiss point out OTT players are building their content libraries given the market opportunity. Foreign series including dubbed versions of Korean, German and Turkish series are a big draw, they observed.

With cinema theatres taking longer to open than expected earlier and audiences not really flocking to them in droves, negotiations between stakeholders over the length of the window for theatrical releases – most recently seen for Thalaivi – are becoming intense. One industry insider told FE ‘window discussions are breaking down’ in the sense that there are no rules anymore. “Every producer is negotiating his own terms with exhibitors,” the person said. PVR cinemas has said it will reduce the theatrical window by half to 4 weeks for the near future.

Although most states are allowing a 50% occupancy for theatres, there is some hesitancy on the part of viewers; especially those above 40 and typically buying high-priced tickets.

What this means is that producers would remain open to releasing their films directly on OTT platforms. “If box office collections aren’t likely to be as good as might have been expected — Bell Bottom didn’t fare too well — we could see more deals being struck for streaming platforms,” another film industry insider observed.

Viewership numbers for OTT platforms of the order of 300 million — as put out by some tracking agencies — appear a trifle exaggerated. But experts are convinced the number of OTT viewers could well have crossed 100 million with the number of paid subscriptions at far lower at around 30-35 million. The good news for OTT players is that going by the trends seen in the year so far, paid-subscriptions are tipped to go up by a chunky 15%, over 2020, while the number of viewers is expected to go up by about 20%. For perspective, cinema theatres attract some 100 million viewers every year.

“The battle for real estate on the phone, however, continues with a person using only two apps on average,” observes Jehil Thakkar, partner at Deloitte India. Thakkar believes regional content is driving growth as also the many films that are being released on streaming platforms. “The difference in 2021 is that a lot of fresh content has made it to the platforms,” he explained.

Analysts at Edelweiss point out OTT players are building their content libraries given the market opportunity. Foreign series including dubbed versions of Korean, German and Turkish series are a big draw, they observed.

Meanwhile, exhibitors could see another year of subdued collections. “Exhibitors need to de-risk from films in a sense. Even if they run OTT content that is a year-old there will be a huge audience that would not have been exposed to it,” Ashish Pherwani, partner at EY, observed.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Watch your favorite Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, K-pop stars on Netflix’s Tudum event on Sep 25
2Make good friends, ask for help when stuck: Kota Factory’s Jitendra Kumar shares the biggest takeaways from the show, opens up about the character and more
3Venkatesh and Rana Daggubati to share screen space for Netflix Series ‘Rana Naidu’ ; shares exciting news on social media