HTLS 2020: Ajay Bijli and Uday Shankar discussed business of cinema at the virtual summit.
HTLS 2020: Ajay Bijli and Uday Shankar discussed business of cinema at the virtual summit.

HTLS 2020: Uday Shankar confirms IPL 2020 has been the biggest ever, Ajay Bijli hopeful about Tenet’s release in India

HTLS 2020: The Indian Premiere League this year has been the biggest in terms of viewership and theatres and films are all set to follow suit. Entertainment moguls Ajay Bijli and Uday Shankar hold forth on the business of entertainment in a post-Covid world.
By HT Entertainment Desk | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 27, 2020 08:13 PM IST

A post-Covid world will see the audiences dig deep into good content with theatres, films and sporting events only getting bigger and better. These were among the key takeaways as Ajay Bijli (Chairman and MD, PVR Ltd.) and Uday Shankar (Chairman, Star and Disney India) discussed the business of entertainment at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2020 .

Bijli is hopeful that Christopher Nolan’s Tenet will bring people to theatres. “It is a very big movie, it’s made for the big screen. Still, this will be much better than the movies we are currently playing. People have a pent-up appetite for entertainment and cricket is already done by now,” he said on the Day 4 of the summit which is being held virtually this year. Barring a handful of new releases, theatres have been largely playing old movies at present.

 

Talking about the response at the recently opened theatres, Bijli said, “We have bounced back every time. Cinema is an incomplete experience till you get brand new movies. We have single digit occupancy with older movies as people are so keen to get out. We are not designed to stay at home. This gives me a lot of hope. About 5000 odd screens have opened and there are regional successes.”

Uday Shankar (Chairman, Star and Disney India) is happy with the success of the recently wrapped Indian Premier League 2020. On the success of the IPL, held in the UAE this year, Shankar said, “We realised whenever IPL happened, it would be a really big one. Or it could be disastrous if we didn’t do the right things.”

On being asked to drop some numbers, he said, “In terms of viewership, it is by far the biggest IPL with at least 25-30% more viewership than other seasons. Even in terms of revenue, it has been very successful. We are happy with the response from advertisers and consumers. It also tells you how people were keen for the small joys of life.”

Bijli and Shankar were in conversation with Anuradha Sengupta at The Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2020 and talked about the various changes the business of cinema has undergone amid the coronavirus pandemic. While Bijli represents a popular line of movie theatres, Shankar is the face of an OTT platform that witnessed a major boom during lockdown.

The prestigious HTLS summit is being held virtually amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and aims to discuss the new realities with its theme of ‘Defining a New Era’.

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