“We are disappointed with some of our producers deciding to go straight to the streaming platform/s,” said Kamal Gianchandani, CEO, PVR Pictures.
“We are disappointed with some of our producers deciding to go straight to the streaming platform/s. We were hoping that the producers would accede to our request to hold back their film’s release till cinemas reopen,” said Kamal Gianchandani, CEO, PVR Pictures.
He added, “This is not the first time when films are being premiered on a streaming platform/s. Cinema exhibition has regularly faced competition from new emerging distribution platforms over the last many years. Yet, it has continued to enjoy cine-goers patronage and affinity.”
In the last few years, the debate whether OTTs will prove detrimental to cinema business has popped up many times. But nothing has changed for cinema so far. If video streaming platforms have seen a growth in subscriber base then theatres also have seen growth in footfalls.
Also, for every filmmaker a theatrical release is the first preference.
Adding to this, Gianchandani said, “As PVR, we believe that the theatrical release is the best way for audiences to experience the labor and creative genius of our filmmakers. This has been so for decades and not just in India but globally. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has caused an unfortunate shutdown of cinemas. We are confident, once we get to the other side of this crisis, there would be enough and more pent up demand from cine-goers who have been cooped up at homes for the last many weeks.”
He aIso added, "I would also like to use this opportunity to express our appreciation for all the producers who have publicly voiced their support for the theatrical platform and have decided to reschedule their releases to accommodate the reopening of cinemas.”
The debate over direct to digital releases started with speculations around Ponmagal Vandhal releasing on OTT first. The speculations were put to rest when Amazon Prime announced a slew of releases including Ponmagal Vandhal. The platform is also releasing Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Gulabo Sitabo.
The Tamil Nadu Theatre and Multiplex Association had threatened to ban Suriya’s films if he takes the digital route for his production Ponmagal Vandhal.
Even Multiplex Association of India had issued a statement urging producers and content creators to respect the theatrical window which is 60 days before an OTT streams a film on its platform.
Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA) wrote to the government regarding their apprehension on films getting released on OTTs directly.
In their letter to the government they said, “If this happens (digital premieres), there will be unemployment for many people as around 9,000 single screens and multiplexes will be forced to shut down. EIMPA also pointed out that “the government will miss out on GST revenue that comes from cinema halls.”