Time to hit reset and accept the new normal. Our series of in-depth stories and analysis on the changing dynamics of India’s tech landscape in a post-Covid19 world — from how industries and sectors are transforming to new opportunities, evolving consumer behaviour, the new rules of venture capital, M&A and more.
While the world is plagued with the deadly Coronavirus, the heat is also being felt by the Indian film industry who are experiencing a jolt in their day to day operations.
It is difficult to quantify the damage as of now, considering the problem is worsening with an increase in the number of cases being recorded each day and prevailing lockdown to curb the virus. Piling losses justifies the need to explore alternate methods of telecasting, once the lockdown lifts.
With the ongoing nationwide lockdown, many big films registered a short run at the box office amidst the Covid-19 crisis. Filmmakers are now looking at a re-release on OTT platforms. Medium and small budget films could explore the OTT release route to recover investments.
With the rise in subscription and eventual viewer base, OTT is taking precedence over the other mediums of entertainment in the current scenario. The spike in viewership of OTT is a ray of hope for filmmakers.
While digital release of films is already a trend, it may pick up in the upcoming days. Netflix has started the trend and other OTT platforms may also follow the same route soon with filmmakers approaching them for direct releases. This will also open avenues for independent filmmakers whose work does not see the light of the day as well as different genres beyond the commercially profitable ones.
Has Production Taken A Hit?
No shoot has taken place since the lockdown considering shoots need a huge gathering of people performing different activities. While there was a pressure initially to continue shoots, the industry has sensitized to the aggravating situation. While the fear of the halted business has gripped independent filmmakers and big productions houses as well, the interest of the industry participants precedes the thoughts of any losses incurred.
Considering most of the activities associated with film making are on ground and physical in nature, the industry is using this time to work from home on ideation and discussion. Filmmakers are using this time to plan of how to innovatively complete ongoing projects as well as for the projects that can be undertaken in the upcoming year once the industry resumes services.
While the future appears gloomy, it is too early to predict the direction of the wind. Even if the lockdown is lifted, the impact will be visible in the long term. While the industry does not expect the lockdown to prevail for such a long duration of 12-18 months, OTT platforms and filmmakers are working towards promoting ready-made content as a solution to the current situation, where shooting on ground is not a possibility.
The spike in viewership of OTT is a ray of hope for filmmakers. This provides avenues for new and independent filmmakers to reach out to OTT platforms with their readymade content which has been shot on a low budget.
Various OTT platforms are under pressure to keep updating their content to be relevant in the minds of the viewers.
They are not restricted by the quantity of content uploaded or genres. They can surpass the normal to accommodate new-age genres. There is a sea of content available in the market, and the current scenario gives a chance to deep dive into this sea and fish out the best content.
This is a silver lining for filmmakers who have ready-made content available with them. No matter what the budget may be, the films that received no takers now stand a chance to be showcased to viewers.
Content Strategies In Play
Many veteran filmmakers are sharing their art and skill in the form of workshops and training session through video calls and Vlogging. Normal viewers are also taking to vlogging as a form of expression and entertainment during the lockdown.
With location being a constrain, many are turning to producing and uploading homegrown content. Candid videos are going to take precedence if the lockdown period extends as most of the conventional filming activity is on-ground in nature.
While Hollywood has already been dabbling in the concept of self-shot videos with movies being shot on mobile phones, there will be a rise in candid shooting with raw authentic content growing in appeal.
The human brain is unique and creative and will find a way to navigate the situation to entertain ourselves and the viewer community. It is an excellent phase to put our ideas into implementation.
TikTok Will Become A Ground To Find Potential Acting Talent
With the current lockdown situation, many are restricted to their homes and looking for ways to entertain themselves. Over the years, TikTok has become a source of entertainment as well as a medium to showcase one’s talent. The platform allows newcomers to showcase their skills to filmmakers. In the pre-Covid era, many aspirant actors used to send their Tiktok video as their audition video clip, but it is not widely considered as a medium for selection.
Though few filmmakers used to browse the platform for potential talent. With films being stalled and auditions on hold, it might become a trend even in the post-Covid-19 era.
With schools, colleges, workplaces being closed temporarily, Indian are looking for ways to keep themselves entertained. With the consumers being forced to be homebound in the current environment, there has been a spike in the subscriber base and viewership levels, making them accustomed to the availability of various genres and content.
OTT platforms are keeping viewers engaged as they can now choose content across genres depending on their mood and preferences. With OTT platforms being a preferred choice for the release of content easily available for the entertainment of viewers, expecting a good deal for the content is going to be like a silver lining for filmmakers.