Here’s what experts have to say on how 2018 has been for the film industry

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Here’s what experts have to say on how 2018 has been for the film industry

As the year 2018 draws to a close, there is no denying that it has brought cheer to the film industry. From strong subject lines, good footfalls to generating more interest amid viewers to go to theatres, it has been an eventful year for the sector.

Industry players agree that it has been an eventful year. “It has been a very good year. It has been a year of content working over stars and brands. We have seen some very high profile films fail at the box office, but we have also seen some strong content-driven films run amazingly which overall, is a big positive for the industry. Regional cinema has continued to do well and English has been steady. 2018 has been a very good year indeed,” said Rahul Puri, Managing Director (MD) of Mukta A2 Cinemas.

Talking about what change the sector saw this year, Vikram Mehra, MD, Saregama Films said: “We have progressed in leaps and bounds on what the audience wants to see now. Look at the kind of films that has worked this year. Whether it’s ‘Stree’ where you take a cautionary feminist tale and turn it on its head to deliver a crackling comedy, or ‘Badhaai Ho’, where the story focuses on a middle aged couple with an unusual predicament or the deliciously dark thriller ‘AndhaDhun’ to the deftly crafted ‘Raazi’ where usual patriotic jingoism is ditched in favour of a sensitive human story — we have had films that take on subjects that are away from the usual route.”

“Two films that Yoodlee Films released also spoke about themes that are usually not seen in the regular Hindi movie space: ‘Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz’ took on romance between two broken souls in the times of social media while the recently MAMI premiered ‘Hamid’ was a beautifully observed exposition on innocence in a conflicted world, seen through the eyes of a 9-year-old and a CRPF jawan. It’s been a good mix of subjects for sure,” added Mehra.

One significant development the industry saw this year was the influx of Over-the-Top (OTT) players. Agreeing with this is Mehra who said, “OTT players have added a different dimension in the consumption of content. With big names producing and acting in films and web series that premiere over here exclusively, 2018 has been an influential year in deciding audience tastes: what are they watching and where are they watching.”

In terms of footfalls too, the industry witnessed a good year. “2017 had seen a decrease in footfalls as far as people going to the theatres to watch films is concerned. But even that myth has broken that people have stopped going to the theatres. I think 2018 has taught all producers and Bollywood pandits a very straight lesson and that is when the content is good, people will come to the theatres. So, it is not about the quantity of films being made but the quality of films. If the quality of films is good then the footfalls will increase,” said Anand Pandit, producer and distributor at Motion Pictures.

Meanwhile, the exhibition segment has grown cautiously this year said Puri. “In the light of some poor years of content, this year has seen films do well and the multiplex companies have again began to look for opportunities to grow the sector. Regional and tier two and three screens have grown well as content has powered these screens. The industry has had some setbacks as well with the whole mess around outside food and the various PIL’s filed but despite some reduced pricing around F&B (food and beverage), the industry has still held its ground. Advertising has been the big strength for the industry. Captive audiences and a growing ad-pie for this segment has fuelled higher ad revenues and rates for the business,” he added.

Puri also added that “a differentiator today is important for the audience.” Hence, premium formats in the exhibition space are working well.

“With OTT platforms luring the urban audiences, exhibition platforms have to ensure they present the audience a different experience. This, despite higher rates, allows higher footfalls,” Puri added.

On the regional front, the industry had a good year too. “Telugu and Tamil continues to be a big box office pull. Marathi also created excellent content for the audience. Regional films and cinema has been a key performer this year,” he added.

Internationally, China continued to be the success story. “This is potentially a big market to tap into and with the right kind of cinema it can prove to be a lucrative source to recover box office revenue. Also platforms like Netflix are ensuring that our content is now exposed to international audiences too,” Mehra said.

This year, India witnessed many big budget ventures which posed a question whether India is ready for such risks. According to Mehra, “the readiness of India to tackle the big budget visual extravaganza needs to be seen in the light of what resources do we have at our disposal and how much we have progressed in the last few years. I think technology in India has progressed significantly and we well poised to take such risks.”

“We have a growing market not just nationally but also internationally. So I think we should take more and more risks provided risks are taken on good content and production,” Mehra added.

As the film industry is all set to welcome a new year, it also has certain points that should be kept in mind for 2019.

Mehra says, “More content driven cinema for sure which is platform agnostic. Edgy subjects that refuse to toe the tried and tested line will be seen more in the foray.”

Puri and Pandit concur and said that the film industry should continue to keep in mind the importance of content and segmentation for products at the exhibition window and added that the quality of content is the most important parameter.

Images are for reference only.Images gathered automatic from google.All rights on the images are with their original owners.

2018-12-29 13:55:20

Images are for reference only.Images gathered automatic from google.All rights on the images are with their original owners.

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