COVID19 pandemic has dealt a big blow to Bollywood, India’s movie industry, in terms of production, promos and releases. But it has also given explosion to alternative new media OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ Hotstar, etc.
As such, producers are dropping three films – Vidya Balan starrer Shakuntala Devi on Amazon Prime Video, Nawazuddin Siddiqui & Radhika Apte starrer Raat Akeli Hai on Netflix and Kunal Khemu, Vijay Raaz, Ranvir Shorey starrer Lootcase on Disney+ Hotstar. These OTT platforms will be carrying it straight to the subscribers, and don’t have to stress about getting enough screens in cinemas.
Vikram Malhotra, the Producer of Shakuntala Devi – Human Computer, was quoted in HT saying that it has been a period of disruptive thinking, and one has to pull back and take some definitive calls. “I do feel that in many ways, we really need to learn to live in an environment where competition and clutter will exist wherever platforms are and wherever content is,” he said. “The good news here is that the universes of eyeballs is so large that and the content offering, especially on July 31st, are so diverse, there is enough room and place for everyone.”
Yaara Director Tigmanshu Dhulia, whose film is also releasing on Zee5 an OTT platform, said clashes are no longer a matter of concern because there are so many platforms. He pointed out that the shelf life of a project on the web is very long. Film trade expert, Girish Johar feels that even with clashes its a win-win situation for everyone, as opposed to earlier when smaller films would be given bad show timings and bad theatres. He said that with OTT platforms, everyone is on the same level playing field.
Now, to meet consumer demand, OTT based video streaming services want to market the films using the same technique that Bollywood producers have been doing in the past. Aparna Acharekar, programming head at ZEE5 that has released Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Ghoomketu, told LiveMint that the rigour is no different from that of a movie studio or filmmaker. She said the entire responsibility is with the OTT platform to create awareness across all touchpoints.
Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd CEO Hiren Gada explained the idea is to make the campaigns as visible and grand as a Bollywood film would have done, that is, with media interactions and reviews of critics across various platforms.
Industry experts said Hindi films could spend anything between Rs 10 – 20 crore on marketing and promotions depending on scale and actors involved. Streaming platforms could get close.