Digital is among biggest markets for films today: Pen Studios’ Jayantilal Gada

Gangubai Kathiawadi’s theatrical success notwithstanding, Gada is hopeful about digital’s future.

Mumbai: Last week, Pen Studios’ “Gangubai Kathiawadi” starring Alia Bhatt joined the 100 crore club, despite the strong competition (“The Batman”) and theatres still running at 50 per cent capacity in Mumbai and Delhi circuits. The film grossed Rs 92.22 crore at the box office in its second week, with the worldwide box office gross standing at Rs 108.3 crore. The success of his latest production notwithstanding, Pen Studios founder Jayantilal Gada is hopeful about the future of digital, even as the industry returns to normalcy post the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a quick chat with, he spoke about how the digital medium has grown to become indispensable for the film business today.

“Digital is today the biggest market for films, having replaced television as a medium of film advertising and promotion as well as distribution,” says Gada, adding that, “the 80:20 ratio between TV and digital in terms of marketing budgets and distribution deals has been reversed completely.”

For all Pen Studios productions, while the theatrical window of 60 days remained sacrosanct even during the pandemic, digital has already overtaken TV as the second release platform, enjoying another exclusive 60-day window before the satellite premiere.

However, despite all of digital’s merits, Gada maintains that the cinema experience is irreplaceable. “The market for digital grew by leaps and bounds during the pandemic. Even though it is stabilising at a higher value than pre-pandemic, it can never replace cinema," he asserts. "The theatrical market will bounce back to what it used to be; in fact, it already has, as shown by the success of Gangubai. The audience will continue to go for the theatrical experience while digital takes over as the second screen, surpassing TV.”  

In the last couple of years, Pen Studios has shifted focus to digital for film promotions in a big way. “Gangubai Kathiawadi” was the first-ever Hindi film promoted by Instagram Global to its 475 million followers. The film based on the journey of real-life madam Gangubai of Kamathipura, was released in over 5000 screens worldwide.

The teaser of the company’s forthcoming production, John Abraham starrer “Attack,” garnered 227,000 engagements and 24.2 million total views across all platforms, in addition to trending on YouTube in number one position.

“Digital is the fastest medium to reach out to the audience today. The share of TV has diminished in the recent past. As a perception building and reminder medium, outdoor gets the same weightage as before,” Gada tells. “The last two years have been a great learning experience which gave us the time to remodel our processes to come up with new strategies for upcoming releases."

While Pen Studios’ 2022 slate is yet to be out, for now, it is looking forward to its next big release, SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus “RRR” on 25 March. The company also has Shahid Kapoor starrer “Jersey” and Chiranjeevi and Ram Charan starrer “Acharya” in the pipeline.

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