Holding a Bachelors – English Literature degree from the Mahatma Gandhi University, Prasanth has played a significant role in Carnival Group’s success story so far. Prior to joining the Carnival Group he was the Founder Director for AOPL Entertainment.
Picture a pleasant evening where you are home alone, along with your favorite movie running on your favorite streaming platform on your laptop or TV and of course, popcorn!! Now, imagine the same movie playing on a 50 sq. ft. screen and you are again enjoying it with your popcorn. The only difference is the size of the screen in front of you and the ambience & the comfort level. Of course, for a movie fan, these three things are of secondary importance. What is more important is the movie in itself. But these fans would be what, ten in a hundred. For the other ninety people, the movie and the above mentioned three things are equally important.
In the earlier days, most families used to have a fixed Sunday plan (at least in the metro cities) – going to the movies, and post that, dinner at a chosen restaurant. But now, if you ask me, the dinner is always home delivered and the movie is played on the streaming platform. Still, the number of cinema goers have not gone down. On the contrary, the number has risen. According to a renowned film trade analyst, 23.52 crore cinema goers – up by 10 percent from last year – went to multiplexes, which include both national and local players. The major reason for this may be only one thing - EXPERIENCE!!
Cinema theatres give something that streaming cannot: an alluring experience. This experience just cannot be derived from a streaming platform. The recent Marvels Movie Avengers: Endgame was shown at as early as 4am in the morning; and the best part was that all shows went houseful. Movie lovers aren’t willing to wait for a couple of months for their favorite movie to come online; although when it does, they will make the most of it. A recent study found out that for instance, respondents who visited a movie theatre nine
times or more in the last 12 months consumed more streaming content than consumers who visited a movie theatre only once or twice over the past year. Those who saw nine or more movies at the cinema averaged 11 hours of weekly streaming compared to the seven hours of streaming reported on average by those who saw one to two movies at the multiplexes.
Most people are attracted by the vast amount of choice streaming services offer, as well as the convenience. And of course, the money factor is again a big reason where people see streaming services more beneficial. In terms of only numbers, streaming platforms offer more for your money. You could easily watch at least 60 percent more exclusive content than a conventional movie release marathon. Indeed, the streaming platforms’ interest is to reach more and more subscribers by creating good and exclusive products. Theatres and festivals then become just a shop window. For example, for Netflix, all is marketing, as everything they do seems to say ‘look, in addition to our famous series, we also have wonderful, original movies that you can only find here, Don’t you believe me? Ok, go to the movies to watch them. Then sign-up, because you’ll want more’.
Movie lovers aren’t willing to wait for a couple of months for their favorite movie to come online; although when it does, they will make the most of it
Prasanth Narayanan, Director, Carnival Group
Theatres are thus becoming a sort of Netflix’s advertising space, a road billboard with a few thousand people watching. But this was not their original role. Movie houses are modern places of experience and solitude, a collective and private moment at the same time. Take an example of a recent Salman Khan movie. You can thoroughly enjoy the movie in a local movie chain where scores of fans are collectively shouting in praise of the actor or you can watch it in complete elegance in an uptown suburban movie chain.
Netflix grew-up and its works are always more interesting, with Amazon Prime, Infinity, Hulu, YouTube and soon even Disney investing in their own streaming platforms. This new reality allows everyone to do everything, as these services experiment with styles and themes, without incurring in unfair reviews, bigotry and censorship.
But the movie theater, the armchairs, the dimness, the sound system wraparound, the silent comfortable sharing, and the smell of hot popcorn are all things that we risk to lose and that future generations are unlikely to get to know. Trust me, the emotions that you can feel at the movies cannot be replicated by any 4K television and by any dolby-surround 5.1 home sound system.
Both streaming services like Netflix and traditional movie theatres each offer something different, and hopefully, the market can support both to give audience options and filmmakers the chance to have their films be seen the way they were meant to. Netflix, Amazon and others are a safe sanctuary for those who seek more freedom of expression, but pure cinema deserves to be seen in a movie theatre.