Is pay-per-view on OTT the way ahead?
When innovation in different sectors has become the way of survival in these trying times, it seems Bollywood isn’t lagging behind. With theatres yet to open doors, filmmakers are finding ways to gauge audiences’ response at the same time reaping financial benefit out of it.
To begin with, Maqbool Khan’s Khaali Peeli is all set to test waters with the pay-per-view format on OTT. While future will only say whether this new viewing experience is here to stay or not, industry experts bring their points of view to the table.
Trade expert Komal Nahta opines that many big films such as ’83 and Sooryavanshi might consider releasing both in theatre and pay-per-view formats. “Hopefully theatres will start opening up soon but then in containment areas it might remain shut. Footfalls will also take time to get back to normal. So in this scenario, producers, who can’t risk their films which costs 50-100-200 crores, will monetise things better and also get maximum views. So this seems to be a feasible option in current times,” he adds.
Nahta continues, “It’s a good opportunity for viewers to watch films with family without having to spend money on individual viewing… Probably all OTT platforms will also have this pay-per-view option and then every film can release everywhere. So, while producers will make money, OTTs will get commission.”
Welcoming the format, director Amar Kaushik says this will help one understand how many people have watched and enjoyed the film. “With theatres shut that’s something we’ve been missing out on. Also, in the absence of a box office collection, this option will help us understand how a film has fared,” he adds.
Producer Ramesh Taurani, hopes this format will work big time. “And this won’t affect the theatre business, rather open up another avenue. We can now we release in theatres, pay-per-view, OTT and then satellite.” He might release his upcoming film Bhoot Police starring Saif Ali Khan, Arjun Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez and Yami Gautam, in all formats including pay-per-view if things work out well.
A lot of things depend on the pricing, feels trade expert Atul Mohan. “In India people are very particular about the money they spend. So the pricing needs to be right. How much time, be it 6, 12 or 24 hours, one gets to watch a film is also important. I feel such pay-per-view option would work well for popular streaming platform like YouTube that many have in their phones and knows how to use it,” he adds.
Director Raj Singh Chaudhary, whose web film Shaadisthan will release on the web soon, says, “This format is feasible for films of big stars who people want to watch but how this would work in small films I’m not sure. Films made specifically for the web can consider this option.”
Bhool Bhulaiya 2 director Anees Bazmee feels this is another opportunity to release films. “But businesswise how good this would be is something we’ll get to know soon,” he says adding they’re planning to release their film in theatres mid-2021. Neeraj Kothari, executive producer of the film, too adds that there focus is theatre release. “Nothing can match the big screen experience. How good this would work with our huge population where most peoeple don’t have means to enjoy such experience also needs to be considered. ,” he explains.
Filmmaker Kunal Kohli opines if this works out then we’ve one more space to earn revenue. “Now a films’ success much like in theatres will depend on who stars in it. While some actors draw audiences, in case of other films word-of-mouth publicity helps them in running their business. Correct price point is also essential. I also feel theatre owners should not hold on to films that aren’t doing well and let producers release it in pay-per-view or via other formats. But the one thing that concerns me is piracy,” he adds.
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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ
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