Can OTT Kill Theatre Experience?
The cinema theaters were closed across the nation due to lockdown for the past few days in the country. This has impacted the new releases. The producers are eagerly waiting for the government's decision to lift the restrictions on movie theaters. Meanwhile, there is a discussion going on regarding the direct release of films on OTT platforms.
Everybody knows that viewership has been increased for the OTT platforms. New subscribers have been added for these digital players in huge numbers. As people have no other choice but to sit at their homes, they are preferring to watch movies, web-series and other programmes on OTT platforms. Considering the sudden surge in the OTT viewership, there is a discussion going on in the Tollywood to release the film directly on OTT platforms rather than going for the theatrical release.
It is increasingly becoming difficult for the small films to recover their investment at the box office in the recent times. So, the small filmmakers can go for the direct release. Even the OTT players offer decent price to their films directly. As the makers has the chance of recovery, they can explore the option. But it is difficult for the big-budgeted star hero films.
Star hero films are made with a budget of 100+ crores. Sometimes the budget touches 250 - 300 crores. OTT platforms will not offer such a staggering amounts to the producers. Because their subscription amounts are very less. If we take an example, the subscription of any OTT platform is around Rs. 500-1,000 for a certain period based on the OTT platform rules. This is for a family. If the same family watches a star hero movie in theaters, they will spend nearly Rs.1,000-1,500 for a single watch on tickets. If the movie gets repeated audience, the amount multiplies.
In the case of OTT platforms, the audience will have the option of multiple viewings on a single subscription for a longer period. So the OTT players can't offer huge amounts to the producers. Considering these practical things, direct release of star hero films on OTT will not work in the financial aspect unless OTT players come up with some special charge for the viewers for new star hero films.
On a whole, considering these economics, OTT can never replace the theatre experience. Of course, the big ticket films will run only in theatres while the small ones will be on OTT.