Films clashes on the web: It’s more business play than content conflict, say fraternity members | Web Series

Films clashes on the web: It’s more business play than content conflict, say fraternity members | Web Series

Gone are the days of the much-hyped big Bollywood clashes on the big screen as theatres continue to wait for revival amid the Covid-19 crisis and OTT space emerging as the place for face-offs. And this time, it’s not the films or the makers that are fighting for attention, but streaming platforms.

Last week, Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s comeback vehicle Hungama 2 released digitally, clashing with Vikrant Massey and Kriti Kharbanda starrer 14 Phere. Next up, actors Ajay Devgn and Sidharth Malhotra will be making the most of the patriotic fervour with their films, Bhuj: The Pride of India and Shershaah, lined up for release in the Independence Day week on different platforms.

“It’s just like the clash of films in theatres. Right now, each OTT platform is trying to prove its supremacy and trying lure customers. The established customer can see the content whenever on the opening day, but the whole thing is about taking in new subscribers,” says trade expert Komal Nahta.

“That’s why if one platform has announced, the other platform loses no time in announcing a project so that new customers should feel inclined to take the subscriptions, that is also a reason they don’t want to miss out on special days and events,” he adds.

Last yea, three films — Shakuntala Devi, Raat Akeli Hai and Lootcase — dropped on different OTT platforms the same day.

With the theatrical cycle expected to resume soon, the streaming platforms are trying to make the most of the time left in hand, says producer and trade expert Girish Johar.

“Platforms think it’s a window where they can engage more customers. They don’t feel any threat from the competition’s film or content. The main motive is maximum traction and audience. When theatrical releases open up, it’ll mellow down. Right now, they’re trying to gauge as much traction as possible,” says Johar.

However, the clash doesn’t impact the film in any way, asserts trade expert Taran Adarsh. “People have a liberty to choose a time while watching a film. And the subscriber base comes as a package along with the content,” he says.

To this, 14 Phere director Devanshu Kumar adds, “If a big film, like Hungama 2, was slated to release on the big screen, it would’ve picked primary spots, good timings and more screens. And that’s not the case in the OTT space. Audience ko jo dekhna hai, jab dekhna hai, woh log dekh sakte hain. There’s no competition, or any pressure due to this clash.”

Hungama 2 producer Ratan Jain also agrees, and shares, “Kuch impact nahi hota clash ka. Audience plays a big role in choosing the content that they want to watch”.

When it comes to streaming war and clash, Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 India, asserts content is the only king.

“The rise of OTT platforms has given the audience a chance to have it all, from the comfort of their homes. It’s now a level playing field where content is the king. We believe in a consumer focussed strategy where we cater to the consumer’s needs and appetite. Hence, a content works if it appeals to the viewers. The viewership is dependent on the quality of content and not on how many projects are releasing on the same day,” Kalra says.

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