The Indian Entertainment and Media industry is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10.75% to reach Rs 4,12,656 crore by 2025, as per PricewaterhouseCooper’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2021-2025 report.
“Despite the pandemic, the Indian entertainment and media sector has shown remarkable resilience. Technological advancement and deepening of Internet access will continue to influence the way Indians consume content,” Rajib Basu, Partner and Leader of Entertainment and Media at PwC India, said in a statement.
However, the rate of growth will vary across territories due, in part, to the uneven vaccine roll-out and major cities re-imposing lockdowns and curfews. Box-office revenues plunged by 75% in 2020 to INR 2652 crores, the report added.
The report also found that while research shows consumers still prefer the experience of going to theatres, the pandemic forced movie providers to turn to premium video on demand to fulfil their launch schedules and this interest in PVOD has raised longer-term questions around the relationship between cinemas and content producers.
India has seen several major releases taking the digital route in the past two years. As per an older PwC report, “India will be the tenth-largest market for OTT in terms of revenue in 2022.”
Upcoming digital releases include Farhan Akhtar’s Toofaan and Fahadh Faasil’s Malik, both of which are set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on Thursday, and Arya’s Sarpatta Parambarai, which will release on the same platform on July 22.
While the competition among the OTT giants — Amazon, Discovery, Disney, Netflix — is at an all-time high, several local players have entered the fray as well. With varying subscription charges, local streaming platforms like Aha, which caters exclusively to the Telugu audience, are gaining market share because of quality content despite low rates, the latest PwC report states.
The growing number of direct-OTT releases has led to some discontent among India’s theatre owners.
Silverscreen India earlier reported that the Telangana State Film Chamber of Commerce had requested producers to release their films in theatres and to wait until October before opting for direct-OTT releases. A special request was made at the time to Suresh Productions, which is producing the Venkatesh Daggubati starrers Narappa and Drushyam 2, and a source told us on condition of anonymity that the production house was re-negotiating the deal to premiere the films on OTT platforms.
Soon after this, however, it was announced that Narappa will premiere directly on Amazon Prime Video.
But, a few other Telugu films have announced theatre releases. “By July-end, we are planning to open theatres for sure. We have Narsapuram coming on July 23, Thimmarusu on July 30, and Paagal and Seetimaar along with Fast and Furious 9 on August 6,” said Anupam Reddy, owner of Hyderabad’s Sudha Theatres and executive committee member of the TSFCC.
“The overall segment comprising box-office and cinema advertising is predicted to grow back to pre-Covid level by mid of 2023,” the PwC report states.
The global Entertainment and Media industry, meanwhile, will witness a rebound and see revenues increase by 6.5% and 6.7% in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Films like Black Widow and Fast and Furious 9 that released on July 9 and June 25, respectively, have helped cinemas regain a foothold.
Black Widow followed a hybrid model of release, simultaneously releasing in theatres and through Disney+. The superhero film starring Scarlett Johansson grossed $215 million globally “including $80M in domestic box office, $78M in international box office, and over $60M in Disney+ Premier Access,” as per Disney’s report.
F9, on the other hand, opted for theatrical release in select countries and became the first Hollywood film amidst the pandemic to garner $500 million.
(With inputs from Anusha Sundar)