With COVID-19 pandemic has buckled the entire business eco-system of this nation, media and entertainment companies are no exception. Beyond running the day to day management of employees, transactions, the new challenge for the production houses is to modify the scripts of the existing fictional content in accordance with maintaining physical distance, according to Kushboo Sundar, Director, Avni Cine Max and Anvi Tele Media, that produces movies and fictional content for TV channels respectively.
Speaking to MediaNews4U, she said, “There is going to be a financial set back for the complete Indian media and entertainment sector. We are not sure when the films will get released and even if they are, we are not sure how many will be willing to visit the movie halls.” she said predicting that movie theatres will start accepting bookings with proper gaps between seats post lockdown. Expressing concerns on the absence of proper government mechanism or institution to represent media and entertainment on a business angle, despite a huge amount of taxes this industry is providing people, Kushboo said the state and center should seriously look media and entertainment sector as a high-revenue area and support them. “COVID-19 being a global pandemic, the international business of the movies will also be a question mark.” she added. According to her, the number of films getting produced and released this year will come down to double-digit across the languages, due to the chain reaction.
OTT A Threat For Big Screen Not Television:
Sharing her thoughts on growing clout of OTT in entertaining people, she attributed that OTT will be a threat for the large screen theatres, the actor-cum-producer said the month-long rest had made viewers get used to the habit of watching movies in hand-held smart devices or even on television. “However, I do not agree to the point that mobile content will be an alternative for television serials. By saying this, I justify with the numbers that every TV channel is witnessing in the repeat telecast of their shows.”, she says stating that the major viewers of the channel content are women- who are used to this culture of watching their fiction shows in the TV screen during prime time.
Challenges before Production Houses:
Stating the challenges of the production houses, she said the first priority of the production houses is to ensure the direct and indirect employees run without any issue. “In my own production houses, there are 60 families employed and our commitment is to see that their kitchens run without any issues. “On the strategy angle she said, the scripts of the ongoing shows need to be changed. “With safety standards like fire-extinguisher are in place while we are shooting, there might be a regulation in place to manage the crowd. “A set will have people from various walks of life- from actors, character artists, junior artists, set managers, crew, and more. Imagine a person has a normal cold or flu and he/she coughs or sneezes. The entire working atmosphere might be reluctant to work further”, she says and included that the furthermore challenge is to modify or re-write the entire script in accordance to have lesser characters. She also says if it is a movie, the scenes which require lesser people on the screen should be shot first and large sequence should be handled later.
On her suggestions to the SME and MSME media houses, she said that they should try to play a ‘safe-game’ now. “At the end of the day, this industry is a gamble. We are not sure how much return we will get on every project. The small scale production houses should avoid availing large-scale loaning, play safe with the credit period with finance institutions and more”, she concluded. Her show ‘Lakshmi stores’ had successfully concluded in Sun TV and she is working on a few serial scripts and a sequel of a movie which she had produced.