Over-the-top streaming platforms are for sure the flavour of the season, particularly with theatres being shut throughout lockdown.
As demand for authentic content material stays excessive, extra people and companies are exploring the choice of venturing into digital streaming verticals; chief amongst them are Tamil film producers who see the funding as a possibility to acquire a much bigger reduce of the earnings, one thing that was not potential when theatres have been nonetheless within the image.
The newest to make a ‘digital foray’ is CV Kumar of Thirukumaran Entertainment manufacturing banner whose pay-per-view (PPV) streaming service, Regal Talkies, launches on July 8.
Kumar claims that he had been toying with the concept for some time however had not acted on it due to “apprehensions” that the viewers could not settle for a brand new platform. “Since the lockdown period has shown there is audience support for subscription-based streaming services, I thought this was the best time to launch,” he says.
Excerpts from an interview:
Is there a necessity for a PPV service?
There isn’t any dearth for good tales right here. However, we’re solely ready to inform these tales inside a measure as a result of a characteristic film is dear to produce. Publicity value has elevated drastically.
The multiplex tradition has given area for different language movies to dominate screens. In rural areas, theatres don’t earn revenue until it’s a star’s film. And so with out good publicity, it’s laborious to place a film with good content material among the many viewers; that’s, if in any respect the film manages to get a theatrical launch.
Good content material movies have a tendency to choose up tempo with word-of-mouth publicity. Some of your movies are examples… like Pizza.
Most small movies don’t get an enormous opening like star movies. By the time word-of-mouth and good critiques begin to get round, the distributor share would have gone down from 50-50 to 40-60 and 30-70 [percent] within the second week.
Pizza was operating to packed homes in some of the largest multiplex screens, generally making as a lot as ₹1 lakh per present. But, have you learnt how a lot of it I acquired? Around ₹22,000.
So, Regal Talkies is a platform for indie and small-budget options affected by the theatrical launch system?
Yes, as a result of the principle situation there’s that producers don’t earn a fair share of the revenue.
Most small funds productions, my movies included, don’t launch abroad. It releases on an OTT platform or a PPV service. The Tamil diaspora watches these movies via such platforms. It is just not that everyone wishes to watch solely huge star movies on a regular basis.
Is your goal demography the diaspora viewers?
My viewers can be those that need to watch good content material movies. Look, there was this film I previewed in 2016. It was made on a funds of almost ₹1.5 crore however they couldn’t spend any extra to put it on the market. Forget creating wealth on the field workplace, it was uncertain of getting a theatrical launch.
Now think about such movies releasing right here and we set a nominal price of 100. Let’s assume one lakh folks watch it. The producer stands to make ₹1 crore. This is the most suitable choice for such movies.
Who units the PPV price?
We seek the advice of the producer and set a price that we deem is fair for the content material the viewers will watch.
What is the launch line-up?
We can be premiering a film Miruna, a romcom directed by Rakav Mirdath, the author of Baaram. On July 24, there can be Onbathu Kuzhi Sampath which has Nikhila Vimal within the lead. Besides we’ve got a lineup of present films too. The concept is to launch a minimum of two or three recent movies each month.
Launching Regal Talkies is a daring transfer. There is as a lot to go incorrect right here because it can go proper since it’s a money guzzling enterprise…
Yes, from the surface, it might look like the content material enterprise is straightforward going however the information bills these platforms incur is large.
Rallying towards routine
- Though NRIs and Tamil diaspora subscribe to PPV providers to watch Indian movies, this observe continues to be unusual right here. However, the lockdown has proven encouraging indicators with subscription providers like Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ Hotstar including extra customers. Kumar taking this step is sure to elevate a couple of eyebrows throughout the highly effective theatre homeowners foyer.
- Is he not fearful he could face the identical backlash as Kamal Haasan (after the actor proposed a DTH premiere of Vishwaroopam) and Cheran (after his 2015 Cinema 2 Home proposal) did? “The dynamics and structure of the producers group has changed. Back then, 80% of our business was theatrical revenue,” he says, including, “Theatres only contribute 20-25% of revenue today and producers are aware of it. Also, theatres really don’t mind if small films release directly on digital platforms. It is only with the star films they will have an issue.”
There is one thing known as Content Delivery Network (CDN). I want a CDN service like Akamai or Wowza if I’m to ship my content material to a worldwide viewers; for that we’ve got to commit to ‘X’ TB of information and pay upfront.
For occasion, if you happen to spend 2GB information watching a film, I too am expending 2GB information from my facet offering that content material. Now think about if 1 lakh folks watch that film, I can be expending 2 lakh GB individually… and information prices are enormous. I’ve taken this on with some perception and confidence.
What about your film initiatives? You had began a slew of them earlier than lockdown…
There are 5 initiatives in filming levels. All of them have been shot for 10-15 days earlier than lockdown was introduced.
This features a horror flick with Ashwin Kakumanu and Kaali Venkat, and one other with Shivada Nair and Ramya Pandian within the lead. There are two totally completed movies — 4G with GV Prakash Kumar and Titanic Kadhalum Kavundhu Pogum with Kalaiyarasan. Another film known as Jango is within the post-production stage.