OTT and Cinema will coexist: Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, PVR

Bijli, Joint Managing Director of PVR, says the company has no plans to produce its own content

by Ruhail Amin
Published - Jul 17, 2019 8:14 AM Updated: Jul 17, 2019 8:14 AM

With the coming of new content consumption platforms, especially OTT, questions are being raised about the future of traditional formats such TV and Cinema and whether they would stay relevant for long.

The coming of OTT platforms has already altered the way content is consumed. It has also brought to fore the changing dynamics of content consumption---personalized, immersive and non-intrusive.

While OTT platforms have seen good growth over the last few years, their impact on traditional formats is still inconclusive. While some see these platforms as an emerging threat to large format entertainment mediums like Cinema, Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, JMD, PVR Ltd, begs to differ.

“The numbers speak for themselves. Most of the cinema-going nations had their best year last year. This year too has started very well for us. I think OTT and cinema will coexist. Despite the prevalence of OTTs, people still love to go to cinemas,” said Bijli in an interview to exchange4meida.

When asked if PVR will produce its own content given the big focus on quality, Bijli said, there is no plan to do that. “We tried that 7-8 years ago and it was not successful. I just feel that they (content production & exhibition) are both very different in terms of business and business philosophy, mindset, appetite, and expertise. We don’t have that expertise and it is not unusual for an exhibitor to be an exhibitor and for a producer to be producer.”

“Content is not in our hands, we don’t produce films. What we can do is provide the best viewing experience and that is what we should do. We should enhance the experience,” he added.

Speaking about Netflix’s plan to release movies directly in theatres, Bijli said, “There are a lot of people who don’t like the idea of a film being released on a big screen. I don’t think the exhibitors are very open to the idea of Netflix releasing films on the screens. I do feel there will be resistance across the world, not just in India. There has been massive backlash in America around it; even noted filmmaker like Steven Spielberg has criticised it.”

Stating that traditional content consumption formats are here to stay, he added, “In India, filmmakers still love the big screen experience. They love their movie to come on the big screen. Traditionally, theatrical release has always been at the forefront and it tells you what is going to happen to the film on other formats. It is the leader. If a movie does well in theatres, it will do well across all other mediums.”

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