Movie Content: Digital means of entertainment
In 2013, Deloitte predicts that growing consumer demand for movie content will lead production houses to be more innovative and will witness an increasing shift towards a digital format.
Digitisation allows consumers to indefinitely store and access digital content and is becoming increasingly popular for its convenience and availability of a wider selection of content. Such technology has the potential to boost consumption of movie content because it does not allow users to rent or share it.
A recent report from IHS Screen Digest, a company that analyses trends in digital media, says that movie studios will cease producing 35 mm film prints for major markets (the U.S., France, the UK, Japan, and Australia) by the end of 2013. In India, the economics may be spurring directors toward digital movies, but theaters are yet to pace up. The move from film to digital will almost certainly create a burden on theaters to invest money on new projection technologies. Digital projection systems can cost between $70,000 to $100,000 and small town movie houses may find it difficult to find that kind of cash.
Digital and 3D screens are being installed in more and more cinemas and the trend will continue. Digital screens allow cinemas to show alternative content. In many countries, people are already able to watch sporting matches, opera and ballets in cinemas. This trend towards digitalisation, although a potential threat, will cut time and costs for distribution companies, helping boost the industry’s average profit margins.
At present, the movie and video distribution industry in India is highly fragmented, with a large number of small operators. Distributors will increasingly consolidate their operations in an attempt to broaden their value-added service offerings and increase their market shares. The Hindi movie industry, popularly known as ‘Bollywood’ releases a minimum of 200 films in a year, with at least one release every Friday of the week. There is a lot of content, which the distributors can pick-up for their film distribution business. However, as is the case the world over, movie audiences are unpredictable and with the substantially higher investments required in the distribution industry, the trend will be one of caution.
The regional film industry will also see growth in double digits, around 10%, as they too fight for space in the regional language sectors. The film industry in South India remains a strong competition for Bollywood. Increased regionalisation will be the key to the success of content, which often gets dubbed in various languages to increase viewership.
Hollywood too, has a big presence in India. With western studios and distribution houses setting shop in India, films from the West have good viewership here. The increasing trend of dubbing popular movies in various regional languages will also see a rise as Hollywood content continues to excite the Indian viewer. There are more than 10 Hollywood films being released in India every month and this trend is expected to continue as the content is well-received both in metros as well as Tier II cities.
The multiplex industry is closely mirroring the growth of the celluloid world. However, the business model is very different here, as these capital intensive investments takes years to realise and multiplex owners have to try out innovative strategies and models to get the viewers interested in spending time at multiplexes. Also, the growth in this sector is connected to the growth in real estate market – particularly the commercial-mall industry. Any dip in demand of malls will have an impact on multiplex owners.
The digital platform in films also includes the ‘video-on-demand’ feature on television. Through cable and ‘direct-to-home’, viewers are increasingly opting to watch latest films from the ‘comfort of the couch’. The recent trend of making recently released films available on these platforms has seen producers, distributors and broadcasters taking advantage of this trend.
To combat the ‘monster’ of piracy, there were attempts by production houses to release films initially on the internet followed by the theatrical release. This is an unexplored area and most producers are adopting a ‘wait and watch’ strategy here.
As the world increasingly connects wirelessly, a time may come when viewers may get to watch a new release on their handheld and portables! Whether, in this scenario, the DVD will make its exit, is yet to be seen!