Experts say India remains a value-for-money market and the tendency to rent or buy movies to watch, especially on television, may not pick up too well.
“Pay-per-view is a response to the Covid situation because cinema halls remain shut for now. While online, you have youth watching content, which will continue; on television, the trend of pay-per-view may not stick. This is because film buffs will go back to theatres, once movie halls reopen,” says Karan Taurani, vice-president, research, Elara Capital.
Yet, some experts say the pandemic has forced media companies
to think out-of-the-box to be relevant to stay-at-home consumers looking for content to entertain themselves. For instance, OTT players have been extremely aggressive with digital-first releases, tying up with upcoming films, both in Hindi and regional languages.
Zee, too, has begun tying up new releases for its Plex service, announcing this week that it had signed up the film Khaali Peeli, starring Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday, which will release on October 2. More new films are expected to be signed up by the platform in the weeks ahead, making it available via direct-to-home operators such as Tata Sky, Dish TV, and Airtel Digital, besides OTT and television.
“While we all love to catch the latest movies at the nearest theatre, we sensed the need for a solution like Zee Plex, which gives consumers the flexibility and convenience to watch their favourite films at home,” said Shariq Patel, chief executive officer (CEO), Zee Studios.
Hiren Gada, CEO, Shemaroo Entertainment, says pay-per-view can create an alternate distribution model for the film industry, though some experts say it could click for films with a niche audience in the absence of multiplexes, which are yet to reopen.
Zee has not released its pricing for Plex so far, which could set the benchmark for this market.