iWorld

Disney+ Hotstar’s ‘Multiplex’ to pit OTTs against each other

Experts believe that theatre-going will resume in the future.

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2020/06/30/dis.jpg?itok=uLFCb6xU

KOLKATA: An unprecedented crisis has compelled producers to re-imagine the film distribution model suddenly. As theatres remain shut across the country, producers are developing camaraderie with over-the-top (OTT) platforms. While Amazon Prime Video was the first OTT platform to go aggressive over digital premieres of films, Disney+ Hotstar is taking the trend forward with the launch of Disney+ Hotstar ‘Multiplex’. From July, it will premiere seven Bollywood movies for its subscribers and this might escalate the conflict between producers and multiplex owners.

Disney+ was scheduled to launch in India during IPL 2020 which later got postponed due to the Covid2019 pandemic. The rebranded Disney+ Hotstar could have emerged a clear winner on the back of India’s most popular sporting event. Now, it is banking on another segment which has crazy fandom – Bollywood.

“At Disney+ Hotstar, we firmly believe in pushing boundaries to achieve the unexpected. A few years ago, we took an audacious step of bringing sports closer to people by streaming it LIVE on mobile devices – a move that forever changed the course of LIVE sports in India. Today as we launch Disney+ Hotstar Multiplex, we find ourselves yet again at the cusp of making a revolutionary change by bringing the biggest Bollywood movies directly to millions across the country,” The Walt Disney Company APAC chairman and Star and Disney India president Uday Shankar said in a press statement. 

The belief was that only small budget movies would go to OTT and the big ones would want the ROI via theatres. But as Shankar launched the service alongside top Bollywood stars such as Alia Bhatt, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Abhishek Bachchan, that idea is bound to change.

“Any OTT player who is releasing films will see a significant increase in subscribers. Usually, movie-going costs for a family range between Rs 1000-2000 depending on which city and where they are watching the movie. Against that, they can always subscribe to platforms like Disney+ Hotstar at a lower price and get done for the year. Hence, there will be a new set of consumers who will come on these platforms. If somebody becomes a subscriber for a movie, they will continue for other content once and the platforms will acquire subscriber for a lifetime. So, the tectonic shift in movie-release business is going to be a big win for OTT players,” says PwC India media, entertainment and sports advisory, partner and leader Raman Kalra.

Experts believe the move will dramatically increase the subscriber base of the service even as Media Partners Asia projected it could have 25 per cent of the total online video revenue pie by 2025. After Disney’s acquisition, Hotstar has grown personalisation and search functionality as the platform has invested in scaling its premium entertainment proposition.

Even though the tussle between OTT and multiplexes will continue, Shankar said that they both will grow together. “Even when films started releasing on TV, theatres grew. Digital premiere will give a new life to the industry. We have 500 million mobile screens in this country right now where films can be watched. If we can reach out to them, it will be a great outlet for the industry to showcase its creativity and tell stories. We should not see this as a short-term tactical compromise, we should see as a big leap for our film industry,” he said during the virtual press conference.

Kalra also believes that the audience will love to go back to theatres once everything settles downs. But a parallel set of movies will be produced keeping OTT platforms in mind. However, he, too, believes that both sides will have enough demand in the market given the lower screen density in India.

“We thought why not use the opportunity of the pandemic to create a big, alternative world of exhibition, and create a network of virtual theatres – private theatres - in everybody’s homes, and that is what we are doing today,” Shankar said. 

This also leads to another question. Will such mega launches spell the death knell for smaller OTT players? Kalra thinks these international players and homegrown players always have had a different strategy. If more people flock to these larger platforms, the latter will definitely have enough demand if they make content and monetisation strategy focusing on the kind of subscriber they want to target and accordingly give them the expected experience.

“It will create a contest between various OTT players particularly negative for the likes of ZEE5 and Amazon Prime Video which have focused more on originals,” says SBICap Securities institutional equity research head Rajiv Sharma. “It will have some serious short term implications and is a matter of concern for multiple players because they have been overlooking participating in the digital value chain.”

The conflict started when Amazon Prime Video acquired the rights for Gulabo Sitabo. Then came the stunner that Akshay Kumar’s Laxmmi Bomb would be released on Disney+ Hotstar. Not to mention that the upcoming movie of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Dil Bechara, will be the move that flags off the Multiplex service.

“Competitive intensity may increase now among OTT players also. This will have a cascading effect as the contest to chase movies and delay in the opening of malls will continue to add to producers’ problem as they will have to focus only on digital to generate revenue,” Sharma adds.

Kalra agrees that there might be disappointment coupled with a lot of debate and discussion. While he, too, says that in the long-run, theatres and digital screens will co-exist, he believes the theatre owners will also have to change the business model keeping the need for contactless experience in mind. 

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/29/mpob.jpg?itok=49Au6PEu
How OTT platforms stay innovative in a cluttered market

As OTT platforms are making all the necessary moves to keep the users hooked, these players are realising that innovation is the key mantra to achieve this objective. To keep up with the pace with which users are adapting to streaming services, most of the players in the ecosystem are scaling up...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/28/alt.jpg?itok=rAEpqjAg
ALTBalaji seeing rapid uptake in tier II & III cities during post-Covid period

Going beyond the initial metro syndrome, over-the-top (OTT) platforms in India are seeing massive adoption in tier II, tier III cities, and even in rural areas. The massification is happening faster than it was predicted courtesy to content in Indian languages, better bandwidth, easier payment...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/25/sonyliv.jpg?itok=9epIQ_bf
SonyLIV’s KBC Play Along heightens consumer delight with KBC 12

KOLKATA: SonyLIV makes staying-at-home rewarding with an unprecedented offering of ‘Har Din 10 Lakhpati’ under ‘KBC Play Along’. As the most awaited reality show makes a grand comeback, SonyLIV takes audience engagement notches higher with this innovative extension. This season KBC Play Along’ is...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/25/mirzapur.jpg?itok=OMAFSB-n
Amazon Prime Video makes Mirzapur Season 1 available for free

KOLKATA: As the release date for the most-anticipated season two of Mirzapur fast approaches, the excitement for the show is increasing every single day. So much so that the team of Amazon Prime Video is all set to give die-hard fans like us the full first season at no cost! With Season 1 of the...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/29/gautm.jpg?itok=kjA7LkD2
Aashram was viewed by users from 2500+ cities: MX Player’s Gautam Talwar

KOLKATA: How do you spend time when a virus has taken away all the usual options of outside home entertainment? The answer lies in screens. For most of the country, the television sets and the six-inch screens have served as source of entertainment since the onset of the pandemic. But at the...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/25/jip.jpg?itok=XiO4Kvnf
Jio overtakes Hathway wired broadband subscriber base in Jun-20

BENGALURU: Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) has been the largest broadband internet services provider in the country – a major portion of its subscriber base is wireless internet – through the mobile phone. However, the player is also making strides in terms of customer acquisition for...

iWorld Telecom
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/25/ott.jpg?itok=rnExhqHG
Why OTT platforms focus on user feedback

As the over-the-top ecosystem turns more cluttered and competitive, the platforms are gearing up to retain users. Along with building a robust content slate, all the streaming services are also ensuring seamless viewing experience for the users.

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/24/voot.jpg?itok=k4EvO8Qu
Voot Select premiers The Comey Rule

KOLKATA: The US Presidential Election 2020 is the most anticipated political event unfolding in a matter of weeks. But before the dynamics of world politics get ruffled again, we must witness a recreation of the tumultuous relationship between a decorated former FBI Director and current US...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/24/mk.jpg?itok=zjoQs_eN
KKR to invest Rs 5,500 crore in Reliance Retail Ventures

Reliance Industries Limited (“Reliance Industries”) and Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (“RRVL”) announced that global investment firm KKR will invest Rs 5,550 crore into RRVL, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries.

iWorld Over The Top Services

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required