The nationwide lockdown has severely impacted all segments of the economy, and more so for the cinema exhibition industry as theaters shuttered across the country. Cinema is an out of home entertainment option, the film industry has been significantly impacted and will take the longest time to recover.
The newly launched ‘ShemarooMe Box Office’, a platform that gives cinema curators/producers an opportunity to unlock the true value for their films by offering them access to digital avenues like never before. This platform will create an ecosystem for small budget Bollywood and Regional movies that have an audience but limited avenues to reach out to the viewers.
Zubin Dubash – COO, Digital, Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd, speaks to us on the tie-up with BookMyShow and he also mentions that this platform would be a one-stop destination to ensure more cine-goers have access to the rich content made available by ShemarooMe.
During this crisis and lockdown OTT has seen a huge spike, how did ShemarooMe up its content offering to their subscribers?
We have been in the business for over 5 decades and take immense pride in the vast library of content we offer to our viewers. We have diversified our platforms to offer content that spans across genres and languages, making sure there is something for everyone. This ranges from Bollywood, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, to Comedy and Kids content
During the lockdown, knowing that a large population of people are stuck at home, we frequently refreshed our content offerings to ensure that we were always giving our viewers something new to look forward to
We already have a unique offering for Bollywood movie lovers under Bollywood Premiere – a platform that showcases a critically acclaimed Bollywood movie every Friday. As of today, we have released 20+ Bollywood movies since the lockdown began in March.
We recently launched ShemarooMe Box Office, taking the direct to digital approach. The platform will not just bring the theatrical experience to consumers but will also give producers a chance to showcase their films at a much larger scale.
During this crisis how have your subscribers responded?
ShemarooMe has seen a surge of 200% during the lockdown and this trend has been the same for most of the OTT platforms across different brands, for ShemarooMe we observed 7pm to be the primetime for our viewers and have seen this trend grow during the initial lockdown period
With no accessibility to movie theatres and lesser options of entertainment, there was understandably a surge in content consumption on OTT platforms.
ShemarooMe has always disrupted the OTT space through its unique offerings. We understand our audiences enough to know their tastes and preferences and accordingly reimagine, structure our business models and work on differentiated strategies to not just retain subscribers but also reach out to a larger audience base
What made you launch ‘ShemarooMe Box Office’ now?
With theatres being shut, there was a lull in production and distribution with producers of small and medium budget movies lacking the means or platform to showcase their work and generate revenues.
Therefore with ShemarooMe Box Office, we aim to offer a unique opportunity to these cinema curators/producers by providing access to digital avenues to release their movies. Thereby creating an opportunity for producers to extract value for their movies on the back of heightened visibility and content appreciation through this transparent model by providing real time reporting of ticket sales to the producers. ShemarooMe Box Office hence is an ideal solution to the temporary challenges faced by the entertainment industry.
On the consumer side, people were missing just simply being able to book a movie ticket and watch a film with their friends and family. The absolute joy of watching a first-day first-show film was gone. Therefore, we wanted to bring back the good old theatre viewing experience. Hence, we established ShemarooMe Box Office with the tagline, ‘Theatre Ka Maza Ghar Pe’
With ShemarooMe Box Office, our aim is to build a unique platform that brings the theatrical experience home to entertain audiences by offering fresh and high-quality content
Now with many films deciding to do an OTT release, how many will be released on your platform? Other than Hindi, what other languages?
ShemarooMe Box Office is a platform that will have movies from a diverse range of genres. Be it critically acclaimed movies or masaaledaar Bollywood hits, the platform will have everything for everyone under one roof.
We already have a strong regional content library on the ShemarooMe platform, with this new property we also aim to provide quality content in regional languages thereby enabling these industries to flourish and have access to a much larger audience, nationally as well as internationally
As of now, we have acquired the rights for 5 movies – My Client’s Wife, Scotland, Graham Staines Ek Ankahi Sachhai, The Least of These, The Hidden Strike and Regards & Peace. We are constantly expanding this list to offer new movies every week in different categories and languages
Can you elaborate on the partnership with BookMyShow?
Generating revenue for our producer-partners was key. For this, we needed to expand our reach to talk to audiences across multiple platforms.
BookMyShow has been India’s leading entertainment destination for years and was critical if we needed to give consumers a complete movie-going experience in this new normal. To relive the experience, they can still buy tickets online by a click of a button like they would usually do, giving them access to the movie for three days. With this association, our aim is to redefine the entire movie-going experience for cinema enthusiasts in India.
Additionally, we also wanted to create an avenue for non-subscribers to get access to the movies since we are following a pay-per-view model. With this ShemarooMe Box Office became the first platform to offer a TVoD model in India.
Is this a revenue-sharing model? If yes, will it be 50-50?
There are multiple stakeholders to this model – producers, ticketing partners, marketing and promotion partners and streaming partner. Based on the inputs of each stakeholder we have worked out a fair revenue model for all. Moreover, being in the content distribution business for decades, we also help producers with opportunities beyond ShemarooMe Box Office, giving them augmented monetisation of the film.
Once we get back to the new normal, do you think OTT will continue to witness a surge or will it go back to Pre-COVID days?
OTT platforms have always been on the surge, even before COVID-19 hit. It was the next step and a natural progression from broadcast, allowing producers and distributors to widen their audiences while giving consumers an added avenue of entertainment.
OTT will most definitely continue to grow in numbers even after life gets back to normal and audiences would have embraced the joy of viewing at home with the same comfort, they are used to experience in a theatre setting.
We need to understand that OTT platforms or digital releases are a compliment to the big-screen experience and not a replacement to this traditional medium. It will still play a crucial role; OTT home viewing will just be an added advantage viewers will experience post the lockdown as well. People will not stop visiting theatres even after life is back to normal.
In this new normal how will content now be curated, and will we see new technology in the way films/serials are shot?
OTT platforms will continue to rule in terms of viewership, and the ease of which content can be distributed on the platform
With changing times, we are expecting technology to play a crucial role in how films and television episodes will be shot, with people finding more and more innovations to create content. For example, the concept of ‘shot from home’ videos is likely to become more popular, and we are already witnessing a number of online brands, content creators, bloggers and influencers who are using this shot-at-home video format to create something exciting for their audiences.
Future expectations around content delivery in India.
The effects of the pandemic and the aftermath will be a long-term effect. The whole movie-going experience is set to change – right from how movies are made to how they will be consumed.
For a while, we will feel and see fear in people’s minds to step out and watch a movie in a conventional theatre set-up. This means content consumption from more intimate spaces will be on the rise, be it from home or more private viewing spaces, where consumers can maintain social distancing and control the safety and hygiene measures
To tap into these audiences, more and more small, as well as big-budget filmmakers will be taking the direct-to-digital route to launch on OTT platforms that currently hold millions of viewers and their interest