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Home / Bollywood / With films heading for digital release, here’s the big question: Does OTT take away the makers’ credit?

With films heading for digital release, here’s the big question: Does OTT take away the makers’ credit?

We figure out whether OTT platforms are overshadowing production houses on their own projects, and how much of it is fair.

bollywood Updated: Aug 11, 2020 20:18 IST
Juhi Chakraborty
Juhi Chakraborty
Hindustan Times
A still from Kunal Kemmu’s recently OTT released film, Lootcase.
A still from Kunal Kemmu’s recently OTT released film, Lootcase.

The pandemic and the subsequent shutdown of theatres have resulted into a beeline of films releasing on OTT platforms. And even before this present crisis, several films that were released on OTTs were either tagged as their presentations or called their originals. This brings us to the question whether a project’s creative team takes a back seat when a film releases on an OTT and the particular platform takes precedence. Has it become now more about the platforms and less about the films?

Ajit Andhare, Chief Operating Officer Viacom18 Studios, whose digital content brand — Tipping Point, has produced a number of ‘originals’ across prominent OTT platforms, says from a makers perspective, you would want due credit being given. 

“Not just on platforms but also on various marketing collaterals such as the trailer, posters, the visible assets that you have created. The platforms will argue they are building their ‘original’ branding. The whole idea is place it in front of consumers as what the platform is offering. That’s the lens through which they look at it. I think we should find a way of co-existing because I don’t think by giving credit to makers you in anyway sort of take away from the platform. And I think proper representation of that collaboration is the responsibility of people in control of these decisions,” he shares.

There’s a way one can deal with this, feels Siddharth Anand Kumar, Vice President, Films & Events at Saregama India Ltd which owns Yoddlee Films, whose recent productions Axone and Chaman Bahaar released on an OTT platform.

He explains, “The onus of building a brand is on us. Of course when a film releases on an OTT, the platform does its own marketing and a production house does its own marketing, so that should not stop. If a producer does not drive for his brand for an OTT release then they are being myopic and they will get wiped out. They won’t be able to sustain, so yes, that challenge exists.”

A lot of films, originally meant for theatres, made their way to the OTTs in the last few months. Actor Kunal Kemmu, whose film Lootcase skipped theatrical release, says that it’s rather too early to say whether OTTs are indeed overshadowing the films.

“There are certain films that are made for platforms and they are going to be part of the platform’s creative content, while there are now films which are acquisitions of OTTs. So it remains to be seen what happens when we get out of the current situation,” he reasons.

Producer Anand Pandit feels that there is no question of a producer ever taking a backseat when it comes to their films. “There are two aspects to this - from a creative ownership point of view from the time a project is conceived till the time it releases and even after, it remains the producer and team’s creative product. That never changes. The other aspect is the success of the film - for box office or OTT the one thing that assures eyeballs is awareness and recall,” he says, adding that for OTT since there are no ticket sales, word-of-mouth factor is huge and so is awareness, so one has to remain involved at every point. 

The makers of recently OTT released film, Shakuntala Devi feel that there is no point cribbing about it as it is a win-win for both parties.

“I mean don’t see a problem with it. We are releasing a film on an OTT, it still remains our film. As a platform which is taking the film forward to the audiences, they will have some right over the film,” says Vikram Malhotra, CEO of Abundantia Entertainment.

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