LOSS OF THE FILM INDUSTRY DURING PANDEMIC

Due to pandemic all the businesses have suffered huge amount of loss. One of the industries that the pandemic did not spare as well is the film industry. Due to COVID-19, the theatres are shut and all the new movies are forced to be released at OTT (Over-the-top) platforms. According to a article published by Free Press Journal the pandemic has caused a loss of nearly 4,000 crore to the film industry. Many film trade experts believe that they do not see movies making profit in near future.

The Malayalam film industry itself observed a loss of over 900 crores in 17 months. Covid had paralyzed the Malayalam film industry which has an annual turnover of Rs 800 crore. The fallout put the industry in a tight spot as around 5,000 people directly and another 10,000 indirectly have been unemployed in the past 17 months.[1]

Many famous filmmakers have held back the release of their films as they are awaiting the opening of the theatres. One of the films that is awaiting the opening of theatres is ‘Sooryavanshi’, the filmmakers are impatiently waiting for the opening of the theatres.

According to analyst Karan Taurani, who closely tracks the media and entertainment space and is Vice-President, Elara Capital, first half of this year will be a write-off and the recovery is expected from September onwards.

“Now, instead of 25-30 percent decline which was estimated on the back of 2021 being a good year for the film business, it will be 60-70 percent decline versus the pre-COVID-19 period,” he said.[2]

While the entire film industry is taking a beating due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, the impact on Hindi films or Bollywood will be more.

This is because Bollywood delayed releases despite theatres being allowed to reopen since October 2020.

“During January-March, when theatres opened up, and many big films were releasing in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, Bollywood did not release any films, hoping for the scenario to get better. So, there was no revenue to speak of, except Roohi and Mumbai Saga. The total collections of all Hindi films in 2021 so far are just about Rs 50 crore,” Shailesh KapoorCEO, Ormax Media, a media consulting firm, told Moneycontrol.[3]

Digital Release Concerns:

Many experts have raised concerns that the digital release of the movies have cropped up many issues as all OTT platforms do not want to pay a premium for theatrical films, and producers may expect prices to match their expected theatrical revenues in a pre-COVID scenario. So, negotiations may not go through for all big films.

While producers of Radhe, Salman Khan Films (SKF) have got a viable deal with ZEE5 paying over Rs 200 crore, said Johar, it is unlikely for all big films to strike.[4] He further added that all OTT platforms have a limited budget and since many OTT platforms have made bad decisions for their platform in the past year, they are being very cautious about their future deals.

Conclusion:

Let us hope that these movies do well, no matter where they are released and we all hope on watching movies again in theatres with our favorite flavor of popcorns!


[1] Jeemon Jacob, Covid-19 impact: Malayalam film industry in trouble, IndiaToday.com (June 17, 2021 07:53 IST), https://www.indiatoday.in/india-today-insight/story/covid-19-impact-malayalam-film-industry-in-trouble-1815648-2021-06-16

[2] Maryam Farooqui, Indian film industry may see 70% drop in revenue in 2021 as lockdown extends in many states, Moneycontrol.com (APRIL 30, 2021 / 11:00 AM IST), https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/trends/entertainment/indian-film-industry-may-see-70-drop-in-revenue-in-2021-as-lockdown-extends-in-many-states-6831971.html

[3] Ibid

[4] Supra Note 2

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