How much progress Video Streaming has been making in domains such as that of Ecommerce, Education, and Entertainment is something that all of us have been observing over the last few years. However, the impact the development of video streaming has been having on the movie business – especially the famed movie business of India – can be a whole new matter for observation and study, altogether.
It would not be incorrect to state that video streaming has been bringing about a revolutionary alteration in the Indian movie business – ‘Bollywood’ based in Mumbai, that is – which brings India a lot of renown and revenue through its ‘masala’ Hindi movies.
What we have been used to is getting the news of big producers making big movies with big stars – and the movies releasing to big (an understatement) crowds at theatres, or multiplexes, to make big money, and big news. The plots of these ‘masala’ movies have been more or less predictable, too. There usually are a ‘hero’, a ‘heroine’, and a ‘villain’ – be it a love story, a historical, a thriller, a comedy, tragedy, or even a horror movie. There usually are a good number of songs, too, with some dances and violence thrown in. Some drama, some melodrama, and we have the full package that has to justify the price of the ticket, the transport, the snacks during the interval, and the long wait at the theatre-gate, too.
Not anymore, though. Today, there are many big stars who are declining big movie offers to star in multi-part movies that often have unconventional, even darkish themes, minus the hero-heroine-villain-song-dance routine, and that do not get released in the quintessential movie theatres that have massive crowds awaiting every show. Today, stars are happily turning their focus to web-series, instead. One of the major changes brought about in the movie industry by the development of video streaming.
Today, it seems the hierarchy of power in the case of movies has changed from big stars and big filmmakers to good content or scripts and inventive moviemakers. Video streaming is taking the theatres to people’s homes, so to say, or carrying movies to the viewers’ hands via smartphones. A lot has changed, as a result.
- People do not necessarily have to visit a movie theatre or a multiplex to watch a film anymore
- Movies do not need to have a typical running time of two and a half hours
- Movies do not need to have conventional plots or stories
- People do not need to watch a movie depending on conventional show-times like morning, matinee, evening, and night.
- Big video streaming services have become the big players in the movie market
- The script or content seems to be the king of a movie
- Movies can run in the form of ‘episodes’ to be watched over days
- You can watch a movie – or your favorite episode/s of it – over and over again, on your TV, PC, laptop, smartphone, or tablet – almost anytime, and anywhere
- Big stars do not bank on conventional movies alone to retain their name, fame, and fortune, but often choose web series over conventional films.
There are more notable changes that video streaming has brought about in the film industry. Today, the major players in the industry are the major video streaming services.
Here are some reports that can illustrate the situation:
Broadcaster Star India had signed a 500 crore rupees deal directly with the Indian actor Salman Khan in 2013; causing the satellite TV rights of all his movies to go to the broadcast network Star India. Starting this trend, Star had also signed such deals with actors Ajay Devgn and Varun Dhawan.
Now, Salman’s movies are to appear, ahead of their TV premiere, on Amazon, first. Since Star could not match the price paid by Amazon, it had to relinquish its hold.
Netflix has similar deals with actors Shah Rukh Khan, and Aamir Khan.
Stars are considering video streaming services for getting a good amount of revenue for their movies after their runs at the theatres. Studios, but, are not always too keen on dealing with big stars, as some of such actors want to keep the IP (Intellectual Property) Rights of their films – completely or partially – as a part of, or instead of, their fees. Broadcasters, on the other hand, cannot afford to pay as much as the big players in the video streaming services do, while putting attractive prices to IP Rights.
This can be called the second major change in the Indian movie industry. The first one had taken place around 2007-2008, the time the film industry got organized. With the launching of the studio model in India, the corporatization of the film business commenced. However, with time, matters changed. Some of the corporates folded up – while some others merged with others.
What is being observed of late is that with the advent of OTT, the content or the script is proving itself to be the king of the film. Big stars remain the crowd pullers, and hence can retain some rights, too. Earlier, prices were paid on the basis of untested models. With time and experience, the price of the stars is also adjusting itself to the circumstances.
In the previous model, star-fronted movies were acquired by the big studios. Today’s business model has good stories / content / script in the leading role of a movie – replacing even the typical ‘hero’ or ‘heroine’, so to say. Big studios have been relegated to performing ‘character roles’ in the video streaming movie business set up of today; contemplating lowering acquisition prices, in favor of retaining IPs. The advent of new platforms and players has rendered it unnecessary for a film project to be studio-funded all the time.
Today, you get to hear that the Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan has declined movie offers in favor of Netflix’s ‘Sacred Games 2’; Akshay Kumar is to star in ‘The End’, Amazon Prime Video’s Indian original that is being called the ‘biggest’; and Abhishek Bachchan is starring in ‘Breathe 2’. There was a time, not too long ago, when declining conventional film projects was something most stars would not even think about – and see what video streaming is causing today.
No wonder a number of people in the movie industry – and even outside of it – are planning to ‘jump on the bandwagon’ and get into video streaming to flow (and grow their fortunes) with the current times and its trends.
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