OTTs - Dawn of the New Entertainment Era
The film, media and cinema industry is one of the biggest industries in the world. But what makes it so different, unique and most importantly interesting from others is that it is the amalgamation of technology with art. The world of cinema has come a long way since it first originated in the 1800s. From black & white silent films to colour motion pictures and from old charming cinema theatres to today’s Over-the-top (OTT) platforms, the industry has witnessed huge developments. But how all these happened? The reason is - ‘Technology’. Just like it has for a lot of other industries, technology has completely changed the cinema industry – from the ways movies get made, to how they are edited, and also the ways how audiences watch them.
The last two centuries have been marked with creative experimentation and technological advancement. Every new film movement and filmmaking technique helped pave the way for the next innovation, creating the best as well as the latest art form we now know and love. These all happened because of technology and its advancement; and the latest advancement in the cinema industry is its transformation from big screens to on-demand, streaming services, TV and online platforms.
Technology has been making life easier for everyone in every sector. So is the scenario in the cinema industry. The one thing the cinema industry would unanimously agree on is that the mid 2010-20 saw digital platforms scaling new heights and now have something for everyone. From exclusive content to originals, OTTs this 10 years have shown that the video subscription ecosystem has matured.
Especially in India, the cinema industry has undergone a significant transformation. Earlier the country saw cinema through small rolling-image boxes on the street, which transformed into mobile-theatres and then into the single-screen theatre and finally became the highly common multiplexes across the length and breadth of the country. However, today’s buzzword is OTTs. There are currently about 40+ providers of over the top media services in India, which distribute streaming media over the Internet. According to The Boston Consulting research report, in fiscal year 2018, the OTT market in India was worth 21.5 billion, and its value is expected to reach 375 billion by 2023.
The Future Ahead
There is no doubt that the uprise of OTTs is because of the coronavirus pandemic, but this transformation will definitely take the cinema world to the next level. Though the online cinema platforms were introduced a decade ago, the acceptance and operations went higher and higher post-pandemic. The current situation is that, across the world, cinemas and movie theatres have been closed, film releases have been moved to future dates or delayed indefinitely. As cinemas and movie theatres closed, the global box office dropped by billions of dollars, streaming became more popular, and the stock of film exhibitors dropped dramatically. However, there are also some industry players who are already releasing their films on the online platforms, without waiting for the pandemic to get over and this is undoubtedly a smart move by them. To be true streaming and OTTs are the new face of the cinema industry, as the pandemic is here to stay and watching a movie in a large group is almost near to possible for many.
Covid-19 pandemic is acting as the K.O. for the traditional cinema’s industry. In this situation, where people need entertainment more than ever, they are left with no option but to turn to online platforms. We can expect to see this trend until at least next year, and so on. Hence, the time for cinema industry leaders is to understand the situation as well as the demand and adapt the best technology to obtain the best out of it.