From big screen to the small screen in a jiffy
What’s common between movies such as AndhaDhun, Badhaai Ho, Veere Di Wedding and Mulk (all of which released in 2018)? They all had their TV premiers, or were released on online streaming platforms within a few months of their theatrical release. And that’s not all; they all were super hit as well. So, what’s the big deal about it? Well, the time gap between a movie’s official theatre release and online/TV premiere has reduced from what it used to be earlier.
A couple of years ago, it used to take six months for a movie to premier online or on TV. Trade analyst Atul Mohan explains that this shift has happened because the way we view our content has changed. “One of the reasons why movies are readily available online or premiere on TV is because at that time, the content is still new and fresh. Hence, it retains the ability to attract the audience. After six to eight months, people tend to lose interest.”
Does this mean that the shelf life of movies has declined with availability of more screens? “Yes, the
release is planned in such a way that every movie approximately, has around 4,000 to 5,000 screens. Therefore, the film-makers recover their money in the first weekend itself. If the first week is good enough, then the film-makers hope that the movie will work for the coming two weeks,” says Neeraj Vyas, business head, Sony.
Another reason for this is that with the increasing popularity of OTT platforms such as Amazon and Netflix, not everyone wants to go to a movie hall. Hence, producers don’t want to lose out on that audience base which only consumes content online or on TV. “The ability to watch their favourite shows and movies whenever they want, wherever they want, is fuelling the shift towards on-demand streaming. While theatres are and will continue to play an important platform for film distribution, we do think there’s room to reduce the amount of time between a movie’s theatrical debut and when it becomes available on a subscription streaming service,” says Vijay Subramaniam, director and head, content, Amazon Prime Video India.
And last but not the least, reducing the time between a movie theatrical debut and its availability on a streaming service, helps dealing with piracy as well. “Whether you are a big or small production house, your films are available within two- three days on internet. Our industry is still fighting piracy and that is affecting the shelf life of movies,” says Vyas.