OTT Comment: That Will Be Salt On Wound Moment

Coming straight to the point, many Exhibitors and Distributors are of the opinion that releasing a film early on OTT, within 4 weeks of the theatrical release date, is killing the theatre market. So what would be the situation of a producer like Dil Raju whose “Thank You” failed miserably? If he fails to sell the film immediately to OTT and waits for a long time, will it not be salt on the wound moment for him?

Well, rather focusing on the story of films and making a watch-worthy content, many producers (who happens to be distributors as well as exhibitors) are now complaining that early release on OTT is killing theatre business. That doesn’t seem to be true, however. A movie like PellisandaD was not released on OTTs until a year from the release, but that film hasn’t worked in theatres. Dil Raju announced that F3 will come to OTT only 2 months later, but that didn’t fetch blockbuster collections for the film.

Frankly speaking, a film will run if there is enjoyable content inside. Now that the mindsets of the audience got changed after they are exposed to world cinema through OTTs post the pandemic, the mindsets of writers and directors (including heroes and producers too) should change first. Only if they could make the content worth watchable for the ₹100-200 ticket they are charging, the audience will come to theatres. Scaring them with a far-away OTT release date is not going to encourage anyone to come to theatres.

Also, some audiences are complaining that the prices of water bottles, sodas, and snacks at theatres should come down heavily if exhibitors want people to come to theatres. Already a family of four is spending nearly ₹800-1000 on tickets and if they are forced to spend another ₹1000 on snacks, surely no one would be willing to come to theatres, they say. Because a middle-class household’s monthly electricity bill could be paid with that ₹1000 they are spending inside a theatre. Can’t producers think of a way to bring this movie-watching cost down if they seriously want audiences in theatres?

Making films with better content, and fixing the prices at the lowest possible rate, would help Tollywood big time. For that to happen, maybe remunerations of heroes, directors, and heroines and exuberant production costs should be controlled first, and focus on crafting terrific content, rather than crying foul about OTT release dates.