Exclusive: To show Mughal-E-Azam's grandeur, producer built 'Maratha Mandir' theatre: Sanjay Bhandari

Amid the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak, OTT and digital content has been hugely benefitted and also came to the rescue of viewers. With many big stars now open to their films releasing on OTT space, veteran finance consultant from SB consulting shared his expert views on the impact on the movie industry.

Exclusive: To show Mughal-E-Azam's grandeur, producer built 'Maratha Mandir' theatre: Sanjay Bhandari

New Delhi: Amid the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak, OTT and digital content has been hugely benefitted and also came to the rescue of viewers. With many big stars now open to their films releasing on OTT space, veteran finance consultant from SB consulting shared his expert views on the impact on the movie industry.

Here are the excerpts of his interview with Zee News Digital: 

Why should films like 83 and Sooryavanshi release only in cinema halls theatres? What kind of cost implications have happened due to the delay?

In the era before the pandemic, films releases pattern were first to theatre and then to TV/OTT (digital platform), irrespective of small or big-budget films. Moreover film made for big-screen experience only which may be in terms of its cinematic experience, sound quality, amount of emotion can be shown or felt on the big screen rather than small screen, hooting in cinema halls for any particular scene, etc. The release of any film on the big screen, contribute significantly to enhancing the Brand Value of the film as well as to its stakeholders.

If we recollect history, when Mughal-E-Azam was produced, the producer himself construct a theatre called Maratha Mandir- Mumbai, to show the grandeur of the film in other words giving respect to its maker and his film to get the right platform to view & audience too also feel the same. With the same feeling, and with new advance technics the cinematic experience of films have grown substantially, the maker of such big films, want to wait for theatres to open for audiences to have the same experience while watching their film unlike on small screen.

The other points may be the pre-sale commitment of filmmakers. The producers also use to have a pre-sale contract for some of its distribution rights such as Theatrical Rights, Overseas Rights, TV rights, Digital Rights, OTT Rights etc to dis-risk their project and these rights are pre-linked with release windows available for each distributor. Hence, in case of any pre-sale commitment of the producer, the producer needs to follow the same sequence, unless & until all stockholder come out with any other alternative option. There may be such reasons also for producers to not able to come directly on a digital platform, whereby they can recover their investment. 

The holding of film in boxes has its own implication in-terms such as bearing holding cost of inventory/ investment (irrespective of its funded either by debt or its by own money –  emotional connect with content with changing time, changing test of the audience, risk piracy, etc.

How do you look at the marriage of OTT and theatres as in the case of Radhe - Will anyone barring ZEE be able to do that?

It will good and welcome. I said in past also that digital exploitation of film is the need of the day and will not kill the theatre business forever. In fact, everybody wants to go to the theatre for a real cinematic experience but it’s not available and fear of the current pandemic, so people want to watch entertaining content at home considering the current situation and filmmaker should not keep the audience starved from contents. Once the situation improves, lockdown is uplifted, and confidence of people regained - again viewers will start going to the theatres.

Zee is in a better position considering his branding of masses and footprint in every segment of film business such as film making, music, theatrical distribution, Satellite Channel, Pay Per View, OTT, etc. Other than Zee, Hot-star or Sony can able do the same.

Coincidently, the lock-down of cinema hall has given all of the sudden boost up to the digital platform for viewing the entertainment content. This pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on the world’s cultural life, predicting that changes in consumer behaviour expected to take more than five years may have happened in five weeks, with many people unlikely to entirely return to their pre-lockdown habits.

What do you think is the size of the film industry in India, inclusive of the OTT content generated?

As per the last FICCI report 2020, the film entertainment business is estimated at Rs 202 billion and digital media at Rs 279 billion. And showing a jump to Rs 414 Billion for digital media, whereas filmed entertainment is projected at Rs 244 billion for FY 2021. This is mainly due to pandemic where consumption of digital media has increased with time availability with people.


 

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