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OTTs are helping to improve movie production standards: PVR

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on November 28, 2019 Published on November 28, 2019

Video streaming apps may have so far been seen as a threat to the movie industry, but India's largest cinema chain PVR Cinemas feels video streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are helping boost the quality of cinema, thereby bringing more people to theatres than ever before.

"OTT platforms like Netflix have opened up a new distribution channel for movie producers. So, apart from movie theatre and television, they can now also sell rights for video streaming, which is allowing them to take more risk," Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive officer at PVR Pictures, told BusinessLine.

This ability to take risk is opening up space for new types of content that couldn't have been made in the past.

"Producers on one hand are now able to make bigger budget movies, hire better writers, actors, directors and production equipment to improve the overall quality of storytelling. That definitely helps bring in more people to the theatres," Gianchandani said.

PVR in partnership with MUBI

Movie theatres enjoy a eight-week exclusive window wherein producers cannot release the movie on any other platforms such as television or OTTs. This advantage is helping boost cinema business despite of the rise of OTTs.

“The debate between OTTs and movie theatre is completely unfounded. The two can work in a collaborative manner. While Netflix is making record investment in India, we are seeing record growth in movie goers," Gianchandani said.

Gianchandani said PVR is actively looking to work with OTTs to enhance consumer experience. On Wednesday, the company launched its first such partnership with curated streaming service MUBI that'll allow MUBI subscribers to watch one movie a week at a PVR theatre, thereby encouraging both in-home and out-of-home movie consumption.

Through the partnership, PVR will offer free tickets for movies that have low marketing budgets and thereby improve footfalls into its theatres.

“The partnership with MUBI will help us drive incremental admissions. Smaller movies often don't get the kind of marketing budget and therefore the attention that they deserve. This initiative will allow us to introduce more people to great movie that don't necessarily have big budgets," Gianchandani said.

But this is not a one-off partnership for PVR, Gianchandani said. The company is working on several more partnerships with video streaming companies.

In the past, PVR has already leased its screens to Netflix to showcase popular shows such as Sacred Games and Stranger Things. More such partnerships could be on the cards.

"With MUBI partnership, which is first such in the industry, we are hoping for the gates to open up for other OTTs. We are open with showcasing different formats, be it OTT movies or shows," Gianchandani said.

Published on November 28, 2019
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