Will the Popularity of OTT Platform Mean the End of Indian Cinema?

In the last two to three years, OTT platforms have become an important source of entertainment. Now, you can watch every kind of program on your mobile, or the laptop. Although OTT platform made its debut in India around five years back, during lockdown its popularity reached an all-time high. Since people were supposed to work from home, the OTT platform came as a blessing in disguise.

Matter of Convenience

Lockdown wasn’t easy as people were confined to their homes. Initially, they enjoyed this paid holiday but soon they started feeling imprisoned in their own homes. Companies also realised that now their employees are saving at least 2 to 3 hours every day that was usually spent travelling. Therefore, they started giving them more work than they normally did earlier in the offices.

Such things created more pressure on people who were already struggling with a pandemic. They needed an escape route from their daily routine. This is where OTT platforms came as a manna from heaven. Moreover, such digital mediums were also very affordable. It’s estimated that the number of OTT audiences almost doubled during the lockdown. It was a win-win model for users as well as the OTT companies.

The viewers were getting high quality entertainment within their homes, and that too around the clock. OTT platforms were also loving this new found craze for their channels. More viewership meant more profit for them. Their increasing popularity also inspired them to make better programs. In the beginning, the majority of programs were available only in English language, but gradually they started including local content. The viewers couldn’t have asked for more.

Changing Mode of Entertainment

The mode of entertainment keeps on changing. Previously, we had theatres, and radio. Then came cinema, and television which was followed by the revolution of cable tv. And when multiplexes first came in big cities, audiences were mesmerized by the charm of 70 mm screens. Finally, the digital revolution happened and swept everything under its feet.

The first thing that you should know is that the source does not go anywhere. For example, even when we had Uber revolutionizing the cab hailing industry, the premise of hiring taxis did not go away. Just like that, even though online streaming platforms have become popular, at the end of the day, they are showcasing movies. Think about when platforms like The Pirate Bay were popular (they are still very popular btw). You could and still can download and watch the latest movies offline. Their popularity did not mean that movies or theatres ceased to exist.

Now, you don’t need to step outside your home for the purpose of entertainment. You have hundreds of apps that you can use
to keep yourself busy. Besides, there are social networking channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where you can find a lot of quality content. Indian social media in itself is a very interesting digital platform that keeps you hooked around the clock.

OTT is the Future

It’s not easy to run standalone cinema halls. Most of them are fighting for their existence because of competition from multiplex chains like PVR, INOX, GOLD, Metropolis, and Wave which get a lot of tax benefits. However, that was earlier, because the pandemic has changed everything. Multiplexes that did roaring business in the past are now struggling to survive.

For more than a year, very few films have been released in Bollywood. And films that were released also came with a rider that cinema halls wouldn’t be allowed more than 50% occupancy. It’s a very tough time for cinema hall owners who are unable to pay the salary of their staff, and bear the cost of electricity, water and maintenance. As things stand at present, even for the next one year, it will be almost impossible to run a cinema hall with full occupancy.

Therefore, anyone who may be thinking of entering into the business of cinema halls, will have to reconsider their options. At the same time, if you wish to work on OTT content, web series, YouTube content, mobile content, this is the best time to do it. Because the future belongs to OTT and digital platforms.

Cost Matters

The monthly subscription plan of OTT platforms like Netflix, and Amazon Prime begins from as little as 199 rupees per month. You can watch as many programs as you like. Visiting a cinema hall to watch a film is always an expensive affair. A normal ticket to a multiplex cost more than 250 rupees, and if you buy soft drink, or a popcorn bucket, you will end up spending another 300 to 500 rupees.

A normal popcorn packet that costs you 10 rupees will cost 10 to 15 times more in a multiplex, while a packet of potato chips that cost you 20 rupees outside will be 5 times more expensive. Just think of it. A film that you can watch almost free of cost sitting at home will cost you 1000 rupees in a multiplex. Suppose, if you have been watching four films a month earlier, now you can save around 5000 rupees every month.

There is a lot of good content available on the OTT platform. You can watch the best of Hollywood classics sitting at home. It’s such an amazing experience watching your favourite filmstars, and artists in action while you are comfortably relaxing on your bed.

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