Every year Bollywood experiments with the films it brings to its audience. Of late a few stars have started with a different form of cinema altogether, web series. Being coined as the long form of films, stars like Saif Ali Khan, R Madhavan, Rajkummar Rao, Richa Chadha have all featured in the relatively new form to Bollywood. Now, there is research to prove why their choice is good foresight in terms of revenue and reach.
A research by EY and FICCI says that more and more Indians are consuming entertainment on their mobile devices through streaming apps like YouTube, Hotstar and Netflix. The trend in two years will beat the revenue of the film industry altogether. While film industry is said to grow to Rs 19,200 crore by 2020, the digital industry in the same time is estimated to become Rs 22,400 crore.
Currently 77% of the 1.2 billion smartphone using Indians consume media on the phone. Indians being glued to their smartphones is aided by competitive data pricing which is has seen rates been driven to their lowest ever.
Despite the multiplex boom that India saw a few years ago with brands like INOX, PVR, IMAX pulling down shutters of local theaters, it seems like they will slowly be replaced by OTT platforms like VOOT, Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others. In 2017, PVR reported a slowed revenue with only a handful of movies pulling movie goers to the screens. Now it seems like it was not just bad movies that contributed to the low footfall. More and more Indians are subscribing to streaming platforms as digital subscription for paid content rose by 50% to Rs 390 crore in 2017.
Streaming sites are also gearing up for the increasing hunger for digital entertainment. In February, Netflix announced three new series in India after its first, Sacred Games starring Saif Ali Khan. Amazon Prime video had announced 18 original web series for India in 2016. Two of them have already rolled out, Inside Edge and Bose Dead/Alive. It is not just these giants who are exploring India’s virgin digital consumption, smaller platforms are cashing in too with a strong concentration on local content catering to regional languages. With Indians spending 93% of their time hooked on to Hindi videos or other local regional dialects, the ground is ripe.
With the forecast predicting more eyes on mobile screens than on theatre screens, we might very well see our stars migrate to the medium. Time you felt less guilty about canceling movie plans to binge watch.