Sreekant Khandekar
Guest Article

Will Jio fiber really threaten multiplexes?

If there was ever an Indian title of 'Master Disruptor', it would go to Mukesh Ambani. After shaking the telecom business, he has turned his eye to online shopping and entertainment.

Last week, Ambani got huge mileage for his Jio Fiber venture when he declared that premium users would be able to watch new movies on the day of their release at home via a service, 'First Day First Show'. The share price of multiplex chains, PVR and Inox promptly fell. That is the Ambani effect.

The multiplexes are fighting back. There is typically an eight-week gap between the release of a film in theatres and it showing up on TV or OTT. A news report says that multiplexes will not exhibit films that are released simultaneously on small screens.

If Ambani wanted to make a big impact, he succeeded. But he did not specify how many new films or of what kind. For all we know, barring a few big-budget ones, the rest could be small films or those from his own Jio Studios.

Top film stars may have a big hand in influencing this battle. It is their big-screen aura that fetches them lucrative endorsement deals. A small screen does little. That's why TV stars, however popular, rarely get a brand deal.

Big stars may prove to be multiplex owners' best friends.