OTT vs theatres: The unseen war in Telugu film industry aggravated by poor content

Several Telugu films released in the last six months – from January to June 2022 –but only a few were successful at the box office. Even those that released in July ended as disasters.

By Bhavana Sharma  Published on  24 July 2022 8:33 AM GMT
OTT vs theatres: The unseen war in Telugu film industry aggravated by poor content

Hyderabad: Several Telugu films released in the last six months – from January to June 2022 –but only a few were successful at the box office. Even those that released in July ended as disasters.

'RRR' and 'DJ Tillu' are the only films that fetched some collections to the producers. Nagarjuna's 'Bangarraju', Pawan Kalyan's 'Vakeel Saab', Prabhas's 'Radhe Shyam', Chiranjeevi's 'Acharya', Mahesh Babu's 'Sarkaru Vaari Paata', Rana Daggubati's 'Virata Parvam', Nani's 'Ante Sundaraniki', Gopichand's 'Pakka Commercial', and Ram's 'The Warrior' – even the A-list actors couldn't save their films. So, where are things going wrong? Let's take a look.

Poor content

People come to theatres to take a break from their hectic schedules, laugh for a while, and take away some lessons and memories. Also, the experience of watching a film in a cinema hall cannot be compared to anything else.

Films nowadays lack content or else have poor content. Audiences are not ready to watch routine, stale, and predictable stories. In other words, they are bored of watching the same kind of stories again and again. So, it is high time that directors and actors realise that their image in the market itself doesn't make the film a hit.

High ticket prices

Audiences of all classes like to go to a multiplex to watch a film because the theatres are nice and the sound systems are advanced. So, watching a film in the multiplex is a lot nicer than watching it in a single-screen theatre. But what about the ticket rates? Every time a film releases, the ticket price in single screens is Rs. 150 whereas in a multiplex, it ranges from Rs. 250 to Rs. 350. And buying something to eat during the intermission is costlier than the ticket!

This means that for a family of four, it costs around Rs. 2,000-2,500 to watch a movie in the multiplex. Unfortunately, the film doesn't live up to their expectations and they regret the decision of coming to the theatre.

Over the Top (OTT) takes the top position

'Virata Parvam' starring Rana Daggubati released on OTT less than 15 days after its theatrical release. This was a huge shock to the industry but happy news to the audiences. When movies are going to release so soon on the OTTs, audiences will definitely not think about going to the theatres, right?

"The Telugu cine industry is going through a very difficult time now and it is high time that things change. The sooner the fraternity realises this the sooner things will fall in place. Ticket prices have also gone up and this makes it hard for a middle-class family to spend so much money. So, all they do is apply for an annual subscription to OTT platforms and watch the films right from the comfort of their home. This takes us nowhere," says producer Suresh Babu Daggubati.

He further adds that filmmakers are working on sorting out these terms with OTT platforms and from now no film will release on OTT platforms till 50 days or more after its release.

Undoubtedly, producers from the Telugu film industry are facing huge losses. They are already paying hefty amounts as interest for the loss due to Covid-19. Now back-to-back flops and theatres running in loss have worsened the whole scenario. The Telugu Producer Council held a meeting recently on the same and updates are awaited.

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