Are OTT and Podcast becoming the new age entertainers?

OTT becoming new age entertainers

Just 5-6 years ago, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, podcasts, etc. were like alien words to us. During these 4-5 years, OTT and podcasts have started gaining much popularity and being considered as a healthy option to the conventional movie theaters and multiplexes. But, after the pandemic hit the entire nation, these digital platforms have become our lifelines, where the entire nation went under a lockdown overnight.

In the lockdown hit society where new ways of living like no meetings, stay at home, etc. were introduced, and moving out of home with friends and family became an unaffordable luxury. People got caged at home with their work from home rituals without having any kind of social life. This gave rise to the massive popularity of these OTT and podcast platforms because these were the only source of entertainment that the entire population were left with. This became a part of our day-to-day activities and during this period people have understood the various pros of these platforms over the conventional multiplexes and movie theaters, which otherwise would have never been possible.

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Let us get into a deeper understanding of the various reasons behind this massive take-off of these platforms with the help of the following highlights of the current scenarios:

1. Comfort of your home: Getting ready before going for a movie date or movie party with friends or family and then undergo all the hassles of standing in queues to enter the multiplex, search for their screen, and then for the seat, etc. All of it sounds a little difficult when you can stay in your pajamas and grab a bottle of beer or your favorite snack and enjoy a good movie. And, all of that by just sitting on your favorite couch in the comfort of your home.

2. Extensive Choices: The podcasts and OTT platforms have given us the freedom to choose content from their extensive offerings. People get to choose between their preferred genres ranging from Bollywood to Hollywood, drama to comedy, thriller to romcoms, and many more. The viewers got the hang of consuming their desired content. Whereas, the movie theaters and multiplexes could only offer 4-5 movies at a time that doesn’t sound enough after experiencing the large pool of content in these platforms.

3. Cost-effective affair: Without any second opinion, watching movies on the OTT platforms is way affordable and comfortable than watching movies in a movie theater. The current average subscription rate for the OTT platforms is around INR 300 per month compared to an average theater ticket costing INR 200 per movie. One can watch unlimited movies on an OTT platform at the same price as a movie theater ticket. All you need is a decent internet connection and a smart TV or even a mobile phone can do the job. At theaters, there is a huge scope of incurring extra costs like buying overpriced snacks, water bottles, cold drinks, popcorns, etc.

Also Read: “While OTT is dominating film consumption during the pandemic, cinemas will get back to routine once everything is normal”: Anant Roongta, MD, Famous Studios

4. Removing language barriers: Indian Cinema is a much inclusive platform and Bollywood is not the only platform. There are numerous languages spoken in the country and these digital platforms are catering to all the film industries in the country. Whereas, if you wish to watch a Malayali movie in the theaters in New Delhi, it is not that easy. OTTs are reducing the language and cultural gap in the country and non-Hindi language movies are now getting massive exposure all over the country.

5. Act Globally: The digital platforms are providing each of us with an opportunity to truly be global people. We can be a part of every LIVE event as and when it is happening in a particular location. An Indian movie releasing in India can be watched by anyone outside India. This is in turn providing a huge exposure to the Indian OTT market at the global level.

6. Fresh content: OTT platforms provide a platform for low-budget movies and web series. And, we have seen some of the original masterpieces like Comicstaan, Pushpavalli, Panchayat, Laakhon Me Ek, etc. coming up with unique and thoughtful content. These Originals have fresh offerings on television, unlike the daily saas-bahu soaps. Here, content is the king and the content creators don’t have to depend only TRPs and get valuable feedback in the form of viewership, comments, etc.

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7. Digital Platforms are Producer friendly: In general, Indian film producers earn around 60 to 70% of their total earnings from box offices and 20 to 30% from overseas markets. Generally, these percentages decline as the weeks go by depending upon the performance of the movie. On the other hand, OTT releases are a long-term game and if a movie is not performing well, the losses are being born by the OTTs only. Therefore, even big production houses such as Red Chillies Entertainment came up with Bard of Blood; Excel Entertainment came up with Inside Edge, Mirzapur, and Made In Heaven; Applause Entertainment with Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, Hasmukh, etc.; Dharma Productions with Lust Stories, Guilty, etc.; RSVP came up with Mismatched, Raat Akeli Hai, etc.; and Clean Slate Filmz produced Paatal Lok and Bulbul.

All of the afore discussed points favoring the digital platforms represent one section of the population. There are a strong group of supporters who prefer multiplexes. There are a good number of people who love to go out and watch movies with friends and families. A lot of people stay focused on Bollywood or particular regional language movies and they don’t like exploring other genres. Also, there are large production houses like Yash Raj and Reliance Entertainment that have said that they wouldn’t release their movies on OTT platforms, as OTT platforms alone will not be able to recover their money for big-budgeted movies.

Though a complete eradication of the movie theaters and multiplexes is not possible this soon, these OTT platforms have shown them a ground reality. For the last two decades, the multiplexes have enjoyed being in the safe zone, but they will now have to adapt to this changing industry. Having said that, the experts in the field say that the OTT platforms will not be able to carry on with the existing price model. They will have to change their price model to a theatrical model (pay per movie) to stay in the entertainment industry.




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