Lockdown aftermath: New trends aim to disrupt viewer habits

Several digital platforms and filmmakers consider pay-per-view offers for movies

By   |  Published: 17th Oct 2020  1:47 pm

New Delhi: Are you familiar with the emerging pay-per-view offers for movies? How many times did you catch a television movie on Indian small screen before the pandemic hit us? Or explore the multiplex in the digital world? Did you know we are moving to an era of home entertainment where you can choose whether you want to watch a story in the form of a film or a web series?

These are some of the trends that have been emerging over the past few months, as the home entertainment industry looks for new ways to grab eyeballs. While direct-to-OTT releases were a necessity for the film trade amid the lockdown, emerging trends such as the revival of tele-film culture, emergence of video-on-demand models in India, OTT specific multiplex segments and a new format where the same project can be consumed as a film or a series — depending on the liking of the consumer — are conscious steps at taking home-viewing to the next level.

“During the lockdown, people opened up to new content they weren’t exposed to earlier. Soon, the viewers will prefer paying to watch the big screen films/ blockbuster films in theatres and they will watch the mid-level and the smaller budget films on OTT. PVOD (Premium Video On-Demand) is still in its early stage,” producer-director Abhishek Pathak said.

The idea, however, worked well for the recent action drama “Khaali Peeli” starring Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday. Explaining the concept, Pathak continued: “It’s a similar model as in theatres, through which the audience chooses to watch something and they pay for it. It is unlike the subscription model of OTTs. Here the difference is they are paying for content and not the number of people watching it. Indian viewers are a cost-conscious lot. The PVOD model will be catering to a niche audience. It will take some time to penetrate into the average OTT subscriber’s mind.”

According to Nachiket Pantvaidya, CEO, ALTBalaji and Group COO, Balaji Telefilms Ltd, the lockdown phase has “acted as a catalyst in transforming the content consumption habits of the audience”. It is quite evident that the pandemic disrupted the market and made way for these new ways. It will be interesting to see whether the new trends turn out to be disrupters in the entertainment world, with cinemas opening up again.