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Transactional video on demand (TVoD) or pay-per-view is the latest blockbuster in the world of OTT streaming platforms. After Zee5 introduced it last year, Eros Now and BookMyShow have also joined the movement. BookMyShow Stream, the TVoD service of the ticketing platform, launched with Principle and Wonder Woman 1984. Eros Now’s First Day, First Show will debut with Greenland, an action thriller starring Gerard Butler. Meanwhile, ZeePlex launched in October 2020 with an exclusive showcase of Khaali Peeli and Tamil movie Ka Pae Ranasingam.
In markets like the US and UK, pay-per-view is a well-established model. According to Statista, the TVoD market in the United States is expected to reach $ 2,064 million in 2021. In India, where nearly 67% of a filmmaker’s income comes from theatrical releases (according to ICICI Securities) and digital rights represent 5.9% of the money earned on a film, can TVoD make a significant contribution?
Since film producers began opting for early digital releases due to the pandemic, the media and entertainment industry has been considering a hybrid model for presenting films, like the one used by Netflix for The Irishman – a release theatrically limited, followed by the first OTT.
Everyone who is launching TVoD platforms says that a curated selection of films will be shown online. âFresh premium content will move to TVoD first, and platforms with fixed subscription fees will continue to host large content libraries,â said Pradeep Dwivedi, CEO of Eros International. Eros Now First Day, First Show plans to add nine films from the STX Films team to its TVoD offering over the next 18 months.
Since launch, ZeePlex has premiered films like Russell Crowe-starrer Disarmed and that of Diljit Dosanjh Surah Mangal Bhari. It will add regional films such as Ninnila Ninnila, Awanchit and Puaada over the next few months.
BookMyShow launched its own streaming platform in July 2020 when the events went live, and followed it up by introducing a pay-per-view platform. Contrary to popular opinion, Ashish Saksena, COO – Theaters, BookMyShow, maintains that the TVoD business is not just a product of the pandemic and the reduction in theater attendance. âTVoD allows users to pay only for the content they watch, which is a trend widespread in other global markets, but still untapped on a large scale in India,â he adds.
Typically, films are released on digital platforms approximately six to eight weeks after their theatrical release. With the introduction of TVoD, all stakeholders will have to agree on a windowing model to accommodate the new source of revenue. âThe success of this model depends on the layout of the windowing. We do not yet have anything like it in India â, underlines Jehil Thakkar, partner at Deloitte.
Kunal Sawhney, executive vice president, Carnival Cinemas, explains that producers are negotiating to reduce the length of time a film is shown in a theater. In July 2020, Universal Pictures struck a deal with AMC Theaters (a movie theater chain in the United States) to show films for at least three weekends – down from three months – before listing them for rent or for sale online. . A smaller movie theater window would mean that viewers have less incentive to choose a movie theater over watching at home.
Dwivedi from Eros Now says that the films that air on Day One, The First Show will remain on the platform for four weeks. Following this, the studio will make a decision on the further broadcast of SVoD OTT and TV. For example, in the US, Mulan premiered pay-per-view on Disney + in October and was finally available to all paid Disney + subscribers in December.
Will TVoD have many fans in this market? Greg Armshaw, Senior Director of Solutions Sales, Brightcove APAC, thinks so. âA majority of Indian viewers are opting for shorter SVoD packages rather than investing in annual packages. In addition, 40% of viewers do not hesitate to pay to watch movies online. “
Thakkar, however, says TVoD is aimed at an audience with high disposable income who can afford to watch movies in theaters, but choose not to. But this audience is quite small in India.
Ultimately, it’s the nature of the movie that will decide whether viewers want to spend more (on top of SVoD fees) to rent / buy movies. Shariq Patel, Commercial Director of Zee Studios, hopes this model will work better “when bigger movies come out in this format.”
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