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Rise in digital media, a boon for regional cinema

Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 9:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and technologies like 3G and 4G, cinema makers especially the regional ones are highly optimistic of gaining multiple opportunities to share, viral and also sell their content through various models which which in turn not only get them much higher publicity but also enhance their revenue stream.

November 2011, saw the making of a global superstar -- Dhanush who was earstwhile an established actor in South courtesy his song, Why this Kolaveri Di? The video which was uploaded on YouTube became an instant hit. Even though the song was sung in Tamil and English, audiences across the globe liked it.

With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and technologies like 3G and 4G, cinema makers especially the regional ones are highly optimistic of gaining multiple opportunities to share, viral and also sell their content through various models which which in turn not only get them much higher publicity but also enhance their revenue stream.

"Cinema lovers never mind spending few extra bucks for good content be it buying tickets of multiplexes or making collections of good CDs. Pay for View -- a model which is prevalent in US can easily be adopted in India and with the rise of mobile penetration I am optimistic it will become a hit in India as well," Arijit Dutta, actor and distributor, Priya Entertainments told DNA.

According to a research by Price Water House Coopers (PwC), an Indian urbanite in the age group of 15-34 years typically, has access to three digital devices that are capable of showcasing film-related content, in addition to the TV screen. Devices like smartphones and tablets provide a great medium for viewing film content at any time or place.

"India has seen a mobile revolution in the last few years. With proper uptake of data services its not far when cinema will be easily available on a users mobile phone. This in turn will benefit the industry as a whole and specially the regional cinema which do not get proper recognition as compared to mainstream content," Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Film-maker who has to his credit films like Antaheen.

With the advent of next-generation technologies, the evolution of the Indian movie audience and the mobile revolution, Indian cinema is ready to begin its journey of the next 100 years in a digital era.

While digital cinema is helping film distributors reach out to a larger set of viewes, the advent of digital trends like social media, coupled with the mobile revolution, is providing newer channels to consumers to consider various movies, consume film content and engage in the production and post release activities of a film, said a report by industry lobby Assocham and INFOCOM.

It says that the current median age of India's population is around 28 years, and this is the segment of population that will drive the entertainment market for the next 60-70 years.

Digital technologies have helped to create an enhanced viewing experience for the consumers, right from digital cinemas to HD smartphones. This enhanced customer exprience has created the pull for consumers to talk about the movie even after its screening. This phenomenon has led to newer revenue streams in the form of gaming, music, downloads, etc.

Some of the key trens bring driven by the digital consumer that are and will impact the film industry in the future are:

  • Online video streaming
  • Social media
  • Gaining popularity of animation
  • Increased influence of games on movie content and vice versa.


Online booking of tickets has become the most preferred channel for booking movie tickets with over 80% customers preferring it. Mobile apps are slowly catching up with around 34% preferring to use them for booking movie, according to Assocham survey.

Social networking site such as Facebook, Twitter have unleashed tremendous potential for organisations across industries to connect and engage with their end customers. The Indian film industry too has joined the bandwagon and has been utilising the platforms to its advantage.

Celebrity film stars ranging from Amitabh Bachan to Priyanka Chopra have established their presence on social networking platforms and have opened a direct channel of communication to engage with their fans. This phenomenon is very new to the Indian film industry.

Earlier movie buffs could only read about stars in film magazines and newspapers. Now they can question, praise, wish them directly through social media platforms.


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