POV: Do Premature TV Premieres Spell Box Office Doom?

By Anindita Sarkar , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing
Last updated : February 28, 2013
Vishwaroopam's plans for a DTH premiere recently upset theatre owners and distributors alike. Might this happen again? Do TV premieres hurt theatre releases?

Karthik Lakshminarayan

Karthik Lakshminarayan
COO, Crest

For proper monetization, it is very important that producers get the multi-variable equation right. This comprises the genre, the distributor, the multiplex versus single screen equation (number of screens) and the period of release.

Most people in the cinema industry know that box office collections constitute nearly 90 per cent of the revenues of a movie and most of the rest is through TV. Marginal revenues are seen through internet, home video, PPV and pay TV.

With films doing astronomical number of prints, their box office-to-TV time is definitely not going to be long. Adding to this is the internet. This makes it that much more pertinent for producers to release movies on TV quickly. Otherwise, even the TV channels will not pay them for the same.

Amrita Pandey

Amrita Pandey
Executive director - Syndication, Disney UTV

One must encourage the viewer to pay in the theatrical window, the pay per view/download and the home video window.

Today, the producer or studio works with the broadcaster on the marketing campaign of a movie, which could be specific to its television premiere. That would make the movie relevant for the audience or remind them of this appointment viewing, even though its telecast is a few months after the theatrical release.

India has over 140 million satellite homes and theatrical admissions for a top grossing movie are around 16 million. For most movies, it is important to encourage viewers to pay and build the anticipation for the TV premiere. Shorter windows may not impact theatrical revenues in the short run but they would vitiate the paying viewer habit.

Shailesh Kapoor

Shailesh Kapoor
CEO, Ormax Media

Box office revenues have been growing at more than 50 per cent year-on-year for the last 4-5 years now, which is around the time the premiere windows reduced from six months to three months, and to 1-2 months for some films now.

The second highest rated premiere and the second highest rated movie on Indian television in 2012 was Rowdy Rathore on Sony, and it was premiered close to five months after its theatrical release date.

As an industry we must take cognizance of windowing content and that is crucial to set consumption and - most importantly - consumer spending patterns. If the viewer expects a new big league movie to be broadcast on a channel within days or weeks of release, the motivation to spend on a theatrical experience might be lower.

Neeraj Vyas

Neeraj Vyas
EVP and Business Head, MAX

In my view, as things stand today, the theatrical fate of a film is sealed in the first weekend itself. The big films block most of the screens and with multiple shows playing across the day, the first weekend becomes very critical.

In today's scenario, barring a handful of films, sustenance beyond two weeks is a huge achievement. Smaller films (with relatively lower budgets) have a limited traction at the box office. Also, a faster play out on television keeps the relevance of most of these smaller films alive because once they exit the screens their theatrical and marketable shelf life is almost over.

In such cases, if the film does not premiere on television fast enough, the chances of it being able to generate reasonable revenues diminish.

First Published : February 28, 2013
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