Film industry not keen on direct OTT release

Producers do not find it a feasible revenue model

The Malayalam film industry is likely to wait and watch before directly releasing new movies on OTT (over-the-top) streaming platforms to overcome the lockdown blues.

Discussions on direct release on the digital platforms come after reports that actor Suriya’s production house, 2D Entertainment, is planning a similar release of the Jyothika-starrer Pon Magal Vandhal in the first week of May.

Cinema hall reopening

With no clarity yet on the reopening of cinema halls owing to the pandemic crisis, the entertainment industry remains clueless on how to tide over its biggest crisis ever.

“None of the producers of the movies that are ready for release in April and May have approached us seeking permission for a direct OTT release.

Theatrical release would be impossible once the producers decide to go for a direct digital release,” says M. Renjith, president, Kerala Film Producers’ Association.

Stating that the leading players in the OTT platforms would eye for movies having big stars and wider reach, Mr. Renjith says release only on the digital platforms would not be a feasible revenue model for the producers.

“The average pricing for a Malayalam movie in the OTT platform is in the ₹2-₹3 crore range only and this would not match the returns from a theatrical release. However, the direct release of small movies can be explored if its the producers consider it as an option to get out of the crisis,” he says.

Theatrical release

M.C. Bobby, general secretary, Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala, says cinemas would not screen movies that opt for a direct OTT release.

“There would be nobody to watch those movies in theatres if they are first released on the digital platforms. We have not come across any such plans from the producers of Malayalam movies,” he says.

On the losses incurred by the Malayalam film industry, Mr. Renjith says nearly 40% of the revenue in a year comes during April and May. “Our preliminary estimates suggest that the producers would have suffered losses to the tune of ₹300 crore following the lockdown.”

The movies

Some of the Malayalam movies that are ready for release are Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham; One; Malik; Mohan Kumar Fans; Halal Love Story; Kilometres and Kilometres; and Keshu Ee Veedinte Nadhan.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 10:00:07 PM |

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