Dawn of OTTs over Conventional Theatres
Longer shutdown of theatres has paved the way for the progression of the Over-the-top (OTT) platform and this has brought in a major disruption in the entertainment sector. The evolution of smartphones, affordable internet plans, and changing audience preference has brought entertainment to our fingertips. However, the dawn of OTT platforms has just initiated with short web series after these gaining traction among the web audience the OTT platform began to sustain in the most competitive entertainment sector. Presently, India has around 40 OTT providers and its market was estimated to be around $21.5 billion in 2018 and grew to $35 billion in 2019.
India was introduced to OTT by Reliance Entertainment with its BIGFlix in 2008, and gradually other players such as nexGTv, Netflix, Hotstar, ALTBalaji, and more were established. Despite being popular and netizen and having a larger viewership, this OTT platform couldn’t out beat the theaters as the theoretical experience was unmatchable. However, the outbreak of pandemic and strict lockdown for a longer period of time has left no option for the film producers other than opting to release their movies on the OTT platform.
First Release on OTT
Although the film federation was initially hesitant about releasing their movies on OTT, it was Amitabh Bachchan-Ayshmann Khurrana starrer, Gulabo Sitabo broke the stereotype of being one of the initial set of first movies released on OTT platforms. This was filmed with a budget of 40-45 crore but has obtained 60 crore on Amazon Prime Video. Post the success of Gulabo Sitabo, the major part of the film industry believes that the movie’s slow story narration wouldn’t have made this revenue if it had been conventionally released in theatres despite having a modest promotion.
With the growing internet users, Disney+Hotstar recently launched Disney+Hotstar Multiplex which brings the first day, first show experience to the users virtually. Post the successful release on OTT other big starrer movies also made its way to the OTT that includes Laxmi Bomb, Sadak2, Bhuj: The Pride of India, The Big Bull, Soorarai Potru, Dil Bechara, Lootcase, and more were released on Amazon Prime and Hotstar and was affordably accessible for their customers. Along with movies the OTT platforms also brings in sports and news live.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar says "At Disney+ Hotstar, we firmly believe in pushing boundaries to achieve the unexpected. A few years ago, we took an audacious step of bringing sports closer to people by streaming it live on mobile devices - a move that forever changed the course of LIVE sports in India. Today as we launch Disney+ Hotstar Multiplex, we find ourselves yet again at the cusp of making a revolutionary change by bringing the biggest Bollywood movies directly to millions across the country. We are happy to partner with the best directors and most talented actors, and provide them with a platform to present their masterpieces."
In the long run, we can expect the coexistence of theater as well as OTTs as people could opt to watch OTTs on weekdays and theaters on weekends especially for the refreshment and ambiance for relaxation that theater offers. Furthermore, the theaters offer other high facilities such as VFX and 3D which is certainly a visual treat for one and all.
Even with the technological advancement, this wouldn't mark the doom of theaters as people prefer a plethora of choices when it comes to entertainment and is open to try out every option available to relax themselves from their busy schedule.