Despite TV, OTT boom during lockdown, 82% movie-goers miss theatres

Most willing to revisit cinema halls within weeks of them opening, or even sooner

Updated - June 27, 2020 01:16 pm IST

Published - June 21, 2020 12:46 am IST - Mumbai

In the Hindi film market, Mumbaikars — at a whopping 93% — are feeling the most theatre deprived. File photo

In the Hindi film market, Mumbaikars — at a whopping 93% — are feeling the most theatre deprived. File photo

Theatres might be under lockdown at the moment, but the movie-going experience still fires the imagination of committed film viewers. As many as 82% cinema goers are missing going to the theatres during the lockdown despite their film consumption on TV and over-the-top (OTT) platforms having grown substantially, a study by a Mumbai-based media consulting firm has found.

As many as 58% said they were watching lot more films on TV than before, and 60% said the same about OTT platforms.

The study, ‘Back to the Theatres,’ was conducted online among Hindi, Tamil and Telugu film audiences across 58 cities and towns in India by Ormax Media Pvt. Ltd. Audiences across all three industries are equally emphatic about missing theatres. In the Hindi film market, Mumbaikars — at a whopping 93% — are feeling the most theatre deprived.

The study was conducted among 1,000 regular cinema-goers (15+ years) in May, with demographic proportion as per 2019 box office footfall.

While only 6% said they won’t go to the theatres for the next six months, 28% claimed they’ll go as soon as they opened. Most of them (47%) expressed willingness to visit in two to three weeks of theatres reopening, as long as theatres take physical distancing and sanitisation precautions.

Unlike the popular perception that theatres will now primarily be about big-ticket films, 69% audience said they will also visit theatres for medium and small films.

While 71% are fine with ticket prices remaining the same, they want chains to spend more on safety and sanitisation.

However, only 6% audience said that they trusted single screen cinemas in their city to implement adequate safety measures. According to Ormax CEO Shailesh Kapoor, there is still a significant trust deficit with single screen cinemas. “It’s a perception that can limit their footfall in the immediate future,” he said.

“Theatre-specific measures and the local COVID-19 situation will drive the decision to go to movie theatres more than the content itself. Hence, effective communication by theatre chains will be pivotal to win the audience’s confidence,” Mr. Kapoor said.

According to him, food and beverage consumption at theatres is also likely to be impacted adversely by about 60% due to concerns related to COVID-19.While 27% of the viewers said they wouldn’t avail F&B inside theatres, 48% said they would consume less.

On the OTT front, Amazon Prime Video seems to be the preferred destination for 37% viewers for Hindi films, 44% for Tamil films and 55% for Telugu movies. Netflix leads on the Hollywood front, with it being the choice of 69% viewers.

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