Anirban Roy Choudhury

ZEE Studios devises a simultaneous-multiplatform release of Salman Khan's 'Radhe'

The film can be viewed on ZEE5 on its pay-per-view service ZEEPlex.

Salman Khan's movies have always been huge crowd-puller especially when they are released during Eid. This year too, Salman Khan's movie will be released on Eid, however, it will mark a new beginning in the media and entertainment industry.

Mainstream feature films in India are first released in theatres and then gradually after a window, films are distributed to satellite television and streaming platforms. A film like Salman Khan starrer 'Radhe' was earmarked as a title that would help the film business in its revival. But the second wave of coronavirus outbreak has hit the country hard as the nation is reporting more than two lakh COVID cases every day. Due to which a couple of states have imposed total lockdown and in most of the states there are restrictions at play.

Taking cognizance of this fact, ZEE Studios has devised a simultaneous multiplatform strategy for the film’s release. Through a press statement, Zee Studion announced that 'Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai' will now be released in theatres worldwide; adhering to the COVID protocol issued by the government. Simultaneously the film will be available on ZEE5 with ZEE’s pay per view service ZEEPlex which rests on OTT platform ZEE5 and also on all leading DTH operators i.e., Dish, D2H, Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV.

With this ZEE Studios will become the first studio in India to be adopting a multi-format release worldwide. Speaking on this Shariq Patel, CBO, Zee Studios shared, “The ongoing pandemic forced us to innovate. While we all love to catch the latest movies at the nearest theatres, we realized we’d be doing a disservice to Salman’s fans nationwide if we aren’t able to release theatrically in all Indian states. We sensed the need for a pay per view solution along with theatres, which gives the consumers flexibility and convenience of viewing the film. There cannot be a better film than Radhe to offer the audiences who’ve been waiting for an out and out entertainer for over a year now. Radhe continues our network’s deep relationship with Salman Khan and we are looking to release the film in over 40 countries including theatrical release in major overseas markets.”

Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 India said, “We feel immensely proud to give this movie scale that it deserves and take it to each and every online screen present in the country via ZEE5. Our endevaour has always been to bring a fresh perspective to storytelling and democratise access to ZEE5's extensive library of content spanned across genres and languages for audience to choose from."

Along with Salman Khan, the film also stars Disha Patani, Randeep Hooda and Jackie Shroff in pivotal roles. The film can be viewed on ZEE5 on its pay-per-view service ZEEPlex. Zeeplex is also available on DTH platforms like Dish, D2H, Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV.

"I think the strategy works if the country is in partial lockdown when a major movie release e.g. if Mumbai territory that contributes to nearly 40 per cent of box office collections is in lockdown, then giving the audiences an opportunity to watch it on an OTT service simultaneously even as a pay per view option adds to the overall viewership of the film, even if it doesn’t translate to big money at the box office," opines Naveen Chandra, CEO, Mumbai Movie Studios.

Warner Bros had released Wonder Woman in theatres and on their HBO Max streaming service simultaneously. It debuted in theaters internationally on December 16, followed by a U.S. theatrical launch on December 25 with a simultaneous release on HBO Max for subscribers for one month at no additional cost. "Inspite of this, the movie managed to collect about $170million (over $120 million outside the US) at the box office and HBO Max reported a dramatic growth in viewers, a tripling of viewing minutes and the film became its highest watched movie on the streaming service," adds Chandra.

HBO Max is not available everywhere internationally and theatres in California and New York, major Hollywood box office contributors, were shut, so Warner Bros simultaneous release strategy was apt for Wonder Woman.

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