The movement from theatre to over-the-top (OTT) is natural in an increasingly technological environment, where the number of connected devices is growing by 2 billion. OTT refers in general to the provision of media for distribution via the internet without using the cable or the satellite. Cinema, on the other hand, is extremely popular in India and since that time, the industry has continued to grow. More than 1800 films in different languages are produced in India every year. India was the first film producer in the world in 2013. But, the COVID-19 burst in today’s time has formulated the near impossible – we are now without a usual life and forced to take a new normal. This new standard has certain set of rules that are binding on our safety. The start of this pandemic has led to a major disruption in the world of entertainment, where leading theatres and multiplexes are shut down without any signs of opening.
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While many people are now digital to watch content, their first love remains true to cinema lovers. Though both of these content distribution formats are often opposed, it is important to note that these two formats accommodate different audiences and offer various USPs. Inland and international content consumption were always high as a result of the lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. Content consumption was high. This hunger for good content was previously filled with multiplexes and TV as entertainment was limited. Today, however, OTT platforms offered people the opportunity to choose the content by clicking on a button. It is important to understand the different selling points of those two popular formats if we are to get a clear picture of the narrowness of this debate.
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The multiplexing public looks not only for good content. A trip to the films is to impregnate the entire relaxation, entertainment, food, and film experience. This three-hour package offered to you is what cinema companies are proud of. The magic of the big screen holds the audience’s attention to the story for the whole time – providing the best experience to watch movies. With the single display concept becoming nearly obsolete, the transformation of the cineplex was tremendous. It wasn’t a wonder they started dominating the industry and got big machines because multiplexes offered more services than ever. The public has refrained from visiting multiplexes last year because of COVID-19-induced lockdowns and fear of virus contraction. With the vaccination at stake, however, and increased awareness and adherence to the government’s COVID-19 guidelines, audiences have started to enjoy films as intended. Theater footsteps are beginning to come up with interesting films with convincing stories that will be published in theatres again. But, the quality of global content and accessibility is one of the greatest plus points OTT offers. When remote operations and social distance become the new standard, there is a greater inclination to view content everywhere and at any time by clicking on the button. It would be nonsensical to believe that this trend only affected the youth. You are left in awe of the demographic diaspora, which OTT platforms have attracted in a short span of time when you look at statistics. Not only this, these platforms allow you to watch contents continuously without time, follow any storyline at your own pace, allowing you the freedom to decide what you want to watch and enable wider reach and penetration of the ground because anyone can subscribe to the multiplicity of OTT apps available in different budgets (even with no prize access) with a motive telephone and Internet connection, and benefit from the content. The pandemic does not drive online streaming. First-world influences brought different global players to India and Indian manufacturing companies encouraged to take on the digital streaming of shows. OTT Presents flexible business models to content owners, as they are not limited to cover their costs through stringent revenue models. The cost of manufacturing content online vs theatre is enormously different. An enormous consumer base is online and searches for content that is easily available.
In conclusion, each medium maintains its exclusivity in formats and the USP. The coexistence of theatre and OTT platforms can be expected over the long term. Both of them, although serving the same content type, have different objectives and consumer variables. We could select theatre experiences for 3D animation or long-awaited releases, but for content such as documentaries, interviews, histories, or web series I would fall on the OTT platforms.
It is however safe to suppose that customers today are free to choose any of them according to their interests and have a bag full of options. It is therefore up to the different media to adapt to the different scenarios.