I would definitely prefer watching a movie in a multiplex to ensure that the director and all his team get their due after putting in such a humongous effort in creating another piece of art for the world to see. Also, I could never imagine putting away the idea of watching a film like the Avengers: Endgame in a multiplex and leave it for an OTT experience. No, that’s a movie meant for the big screen and there’s where I shall get the “Full paisa vasool” – Dr. Sandesh Mahajan, Ph.D., Film Marketer & a thorough Movie-buff.
Ever since RelianceJio announced the launch of JioFibre in the market and the ease, and convenience it would bring to the audience, multiplexes & film producers have been in a tongue-tied situation.
We have always been of the opinion that entertainment is an integral part of an Indian household, and entertainers more so. As Fridays approach, apart from dipping into leisure, and laze for the weekend, most movie-buffs lookout for brand-new films at a theatre next door. The multiplexes, in turn, surrender to their audiences and give an immersive experience through sound, ambiance, F&B, and lounge experience.
However, all of that has been in question ever since the announcement by RelianceJio as well as the overall lockdown that the world has been hit with, owing to COVID-19. Multiplexes and theatre owners across the country have voiced their concerns over the subject and believe that it is a matter of survival.
Now, there exist two sides of this coin in terms of survival & audience. Most OTT platforms are subscription-based and involve a monthly fee for the services. Film producers selling films to OTTs would encourage the audience to buy subscriptions, and watch a film, which in turn would cost as much as spending at a movie theatre. Hence, there is no escape from shelling money. Yes, the convenience would be doubled, and variable expenses could be avoided. However, it would take away the immersive experience that a theatre brought to a home-theatre of smart-TV in a living room.
Here’s what we think: Crisis is the mother of invention, and with the decision of releasing films on OTT being a smart move for most film producers, multiplexes & theatres could offer services through innovative, and budgetary friendly solutions to retain customers. Apart from that, they could also partner with OTT platforms to have real-time screenings of Films in exchange for access to premium services at a multiplex. Until the COVID-19 settles down, and life goes back to normal, the multiplexes would be okay to have films released on an OTT platform. However, will that still be acceptable to the owners, still remains a huge question.
We spoke to some of the most enthusiastic individuals from our community about this and got mixed views.
“While with the advent of OTT platforms, we have embarked on a new era of movie viewing that offers extremely personal watching experience, however, it cannot be said that this would anyhow impact the revenues earned by the theatres because the surround sound, the visual effects and the feeling of watching together with an entire crowd cannot be replaced. It is more like a habit or an experience we wouldn’t like to abandon,” said Dr. Sandesh Mahajan, while discussing how the future of entertainment looks.
On the other hand, as someone who works at Publicis Media & is an Ex-SIMC student, Paromita Ray Chaudhary is of the opinion that, when there’s a new release, she wouldn’t want to wait till the movie is available on OTT, but make plans to go to the theatre. “OTT is for introverts and gives a boost to their personality. Along with those who are bone lazy. Theatre gives us an experience that Home theatre can’t do. Hence, while OTT is the future of entertainment, there’s a long way to go for it to completely replace the theatre experience.” said the young-gun.
Based on what the two professionals had to say about this subject, we feel it is a more subjective experience. While it comes with convenience wrapped in exclusivity, and utmost privacy, it also takes away the wholesome experience of watching a movie in a movie theatre. What is your take on this? Would you go watch a film in a movie theatre despite it being released on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Disney+ Hotstar?