OTTs are replacing multiplexes and lockdown isn’t the only reason

OTT platforms give the option of watching any film through any medium like smartphones, TV, desktops or laptops | Image - Immayabharathi K

Before anyone had a hint of the lockdown due to the coronavirus, Jyothika-starrer Tamil film Pon Magal Vandhal was all set to release in theatres on March 27. Unable to make it to the big screen, the movie’s producers, Jyothika’s husband Suriya’s 2D Entertainment, moved soon and decided to take it to the smallest screen — mobile phones, through over the top (OTT) technology. If media reports are to be believed, the film is soon set to release on Amazon Prime. Viewers who have Prime subscription would get to watch the film from the comfort of their homes and free of cost.

The move though came at a cost. The Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association said they are considering a ban on Suriya’s movies for apparently leaving them in the lurch in times of lockdown. If implemented, this would be a huge blow for the actor whose movies have grossed an average of ₹70 crore, sometimes crossed the ₹100 crore mark, especially with the Singam (Tamil) series.

However, the actor-couple did get support from about 30 Tamil film producers who said that producers have every right to release their work on OTT platforms, especially small and medium budget films, in order to “recover their investment” in any way they deem fit.

Having lost more than 50 days now, and uncertainty hovering around even as the lockdown is being relaxed for other business sectors, they said big films would make up their losses when the theatres open whereas this could not be promised for small and medium films which are unlikely to find space on the big screen.

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