With theatres shut during the lockdown, OTT platforms have quickly gained popularity among movie buffs. Although this trend emerged as a result of the temporary closure the cinema halls, it is expected to stay for a while even though the halls have reopened already. This is primarily due to the two following reasons:
- Those who didn’t stream movies on OTT platforms earlier are starting to realise its benefits.
- Not visiting the theatres for more than six months has broken the habit for movie buffs. They are now getting habituated to streaming movies online.
That being said, it is pretty evident that watching movies on an OTT platform comes with a number of advantages for the viewers.
What makes OTT a viable alternative for theatres?
While OTT can’t deliver the exact experience of watching the movie on the silver screen, it is much more convenient for the viewers. This convenience is the main reason behind the popularity of OTT. OTT is a good alternative for theatres mostly because of:
- Convenience: You do not need a high-end device to stream movies on an OTT platform. A smartphone and a stable internet connection are enough. Moreover, you can stream your favourite movies from the comfort of your home, without even having to travel to the theatre. This also helps the viewers to save on costs like conveyance and expensive food at the theatres.
- Flexibility: Unlike theatres, the show timings on the OTT platforms aren’t fixed. You can watch any movie you wish at any timing which is suitable for you. Those who find it hard to make time for visiting the theatres can even stream movies with intervals if necessary. Moreover, the OTT platforms allow the viewers to watch a movie as many times as they want.
- Affordability: OTT services are much more affordable compared to watching movies in theatres, especially for those who watch a lot of movies. While some of the OTT platformsmay charge a certain amount of money per movie watched, others charge a monthly subscription for an unlimited number of views. Some of them also allow the viewers to buy the subscriptions for specific playlists or content category. In these cases, the viewers have to pay only for the type of content they would watch.
- Diversity of content: You can pick from a wide selection of movies when watching them on an OTT platform. This is evidently a major advantage that OTT offers over theatres as a theatre can screen only a specific number of movies within a certain period of time. Even if a movie is no longer available in theatres, you can still stream them on an OTT platform. Moreover, many of the OTT platforms also produce quality original content or serve as a live streaming platform during sports events. This diversity in content gives OTT an edge over theatres.
- Safety: Even though the theatres have now been reopened, the risks remain. Going to a public place like a theatre might result in getting infected with COVID-19, in spite of maximum precautions. Is it really worth the risk while you can actually watch movies without even having to step out of your home? At a time when staying at home is the best way to keep yourself safe from the virus, there is no wonder why the popularity of OTT continues to grow even after theatres reopen.
Does OTT offer new content like theatres do?
Even though one can watch a seemingly unlimited number of movies on an online platform, theatres were a popular destination even just before the lockdown. This is because people prefer to watch the new releases as soon as they can, rather than wait for the movie to be released on an OTT platform. However, several of the leading OTT companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. also produce a wide range of content which are of no lesser quality than mainstream movies launched in the theatres. Currently, with the potential of returns from theatrical release low, many of the film producers are starting to launch their movies on the OTT platforms instead.
Is the trend expected to stay and why?
Observing the current trend of increasing OTT subscriptions even after the reopening of the movie halls, OTT is expected to continue to be the preferred choice for at list as long as the pandemic lasts. However, it is believed that even when normalcy returns, OTT would retain its popularity. While choosing between visiting a theatre and subscribing for OTT services, the wide range of content available at an affordable cost on OTT platforms easily makes it the better choice.
Television, the other alternative, too has fallen behind in the competition as they function like a live streaming platform, offering only limited content and at fixed times. In the long run, OTT is expected to stay ahead in the race.