Web Series: Is OTT's growing popularity a challenge for the 'big screen'? Know what the experts say

New Delhi (Manoj Vasistha). The popularity of OTT content in India has increased wildly amid increasing accessibility of smartphones and the Internet. This rising popularity has also provided a new market for entertainment business and this booming market has attracted many big screen biggies towards 'mobile screen'.

OTT platforms such as Netflix and Amazon are spending crores of budgets on films and web series production, which is not inferior to mainstream cinema in terms of quality. At the same time, the process of releasing films of big production houses on the OTT platform has also started.

The rapid rise in popularity of web platforms among viewers has also raised many questions. Will this popularity of 'mobile screen' prove to be a challenge for the big screen in future? Will the freedom of creativity and ease of content on web platforms reduce the temptation of makers for the big screen? To get a picture of the future, we interacted with people associated with the web and film industry, including artists, writers, cinema hall owners and journalists.

No threat to cinema, boon for creative people: Sharib Hashmi, actor (The family man, Prime)

Actor Sharib Hashmi has impressed the audience with his performances in films like 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan', 'Filmistan' and 'Batti Gul Meter Chalu'. He played the parallel lead role with Manoj Bajpayee in Amazon Prime's spy series 'The Family Man'.

In a conversation with, Sharib clearly stated that there is no threat to cinema through the OTT platform. Also a boon for creative people. Sharib said, "Cinema will not be weak, but to express its creativity, another platform has been found, where there is scope to do something different."

Sharib says on the importance of traditional cinema that the magic of cinema will continue. It is a different joy to form a group and enjoy the film in the hall. The business of 300-400 crores also comes from there itself. The advantage of OTT is that there is no pressure of first day collections. However, the competition is strong here. Shining in such a big 'clutter' is a big thing. If the viewer does not like, then in 10 minutes, he stops and goes elsewhere. There is a lot of scope here as there is no censorship on the OTT platform.

80 percent of films are made on the old pattern, cinema will have to change: Sanjeev K Jha, writer (The Barot House, Zi 5)

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'Jabariya Jodi' writer Sanjeev K Jha has also written a successful film like 'Barat House' for Zee 5. Sanjeev believes that in the era of OTT platforms, the craze of mainstream cinema has reduced among the audience. Sanjeev stresses the need for change in mainstream cinema and says- "80% of films are still made on the basis of 40-50 years old." The same old scenes are beginning to bore the rapidly changing audience. OTT platforms are bringing new things through web series and originals.

Sanjeev considers the newness of the content behind the popularity of OTT content. Sanjeev says- "Today 90 percent of cinema is fake, while only 10 percent of OTT content is fake. OTT content is close to reality, which the audience likes. ''

On the question of stardom in OTT, Sanjeev says that the stars will also have to be changed for this platform. The big production houses also have to give content keeping in mind the web audience, whose Karan Johar is a good example, who is giving the same content by holding the pulse of the viewer.

OTT required, but cinema craze will not be reduced: S. Ramachandran (Senior Film Journalist and Reviewer)

Film journalist and critic S. Ramachandran admits that a certain number of viewers are leaning towards OTT platforms and spending money on it, but there is no less number of viewers who turn to the big screen to watch the film Will stay

Emphasizing his point, even before OTT platforms, viewers used to watch pirated movies on various websites, but that did not reduce the importance of the big screen. If you look at the canvas and budget of big films, then it is constantly increasing to attract the audience to theaters.

Ramachandran says that at this time there is not much number of people in the country who have smartphones or who are on OTT. The number of such population will be around 70 million. Therefore, OTT will take at least another 5 years to become a serious threat to cinema. At the same time, OTT content is still not a priority for advertisers.

Sanjeevani is OTT for small budget films

Why is mainstream cinema not threatened by OTT? Ramachandran explains this with an example. Suppose a film is to be released in theaters. It takes a few lakhs to release a very low budget film. The small budget film is released in a fine amount of 2 crores. The release of the mid-budget film costs 3-5 crores.

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This is the reason that most of the small or medium budget films are released on digital platforms. Apart from big films, these are films that are available on digital platforms such as Rakhosh. Ramachandran says that about 200 Bollywood films and 800 regional-language films arrive in theaters every year, which seems to be far from a threat.

OTT did not reduce the audience of theaters- Raj Bansal, multiplex owner

Our colleague Rajat Singh spoke to multiplex owner Raj Bansal to know the side of the cinema owners. He said, "The release of films on digital platforms has not had any particular impact on cinemas. Nowadays, the biggest films take 90 percent of the business in four weeks. Distributors, associations and producers release online only after mutual understanding. In such a situation, the business of cinemas is not getting any special damage.

What importance do OTT platforms have in the film market

The growing market of web platforms is gauged from a report in Economic Times in 2018. According to a data published in this report, in 2018, OTT rights increased by 59%. OTT platforms have spent 13.5 billion rupees in buying the rights to the films. Of the total revenue that the film industry received, 7.73% of the revenue came through OTT rights.

This is the reason that in the last few years many big names of cinema have made their way in the world of OTT through web series and web films. Filmmakers like Manoj Bajpayee, Emraan Hashmi to Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar are taking a dip in OTT's Gangotri. Celebs such as Saif Ali Khan, Farhan Akhtar and Ekta Kapoor have already got hold of the potential of this new market.

Confrontation of OTT started?

OTT platforms may not be a challenge yet, but confrontation with theaters has already started. Its buzz has been heard from South India and America. In the year 2019 itself, S Prabhu's film Kathi was streamed online in 30 days.

After this, the cinema owners lodged a protest. He had also complained of business decline. At the same time, the film The Irishman in Hollywood also faced opposition on this issue, due to which the big theaters refused to show the film.

1: Manoj vashisth

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