With the lifespan of films in theatres reducing to an average of two weeks, direct-to-home (DTH) platform on television has emerged as an attractive option for production houses. This week, for instance, will see a new film — Main Aurr Mrs Khanna — premiering on two DTH platforms — Zee group’s Dish TV and Reliance Big TV.
The film hit the theatres last Friday, on the eve of Diwali, which is seen as the best time for Bollywood releases. Salil Kapoor, Dish TV chief operating officer, said DTH companies and production houses are in revenue-sharing deals for screening new titles, and it’s a win-win for both. “There’s no one-time upfront payment that the DTH platform has to make to the production houses. While so far, Dish TV has entered into 50:50 revenue-share deals, the model could change in the coming months and years depending on how the format evolves,” Kapoor said.
New movies on DTH work when they come somewhere between the theatre release and DVD launch. There’s usually a two to three month gap between a movie in a theatre and it hitting the DVD circuit. “The silver jubilees and the 25-week story will never happen again,” Kapoor said, and therefore the significance of movie premieres on DTH platforms. It’s not everyday that one makes films like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, which is still running at Maratha Mandir in Mumbai for 14 years continuously.
Typically, once a DTH subscriber pays for a movie on demand (MOD), it can be viewed for 24 hours. A film on MOD is usually available for a month or so on the DTH platform. The price could vary from Rs50 to Rs150, depending on how new and popular a movie is. BIG TV officials were not available for comment. In a statement, the company said that the company had bought the DTH rights from UTV Motion Pictures and that the film would be available for viewing to its subscribers just after four days of its release, from October 20 onwards for a month on its pay-per-view channels.
“It’s a perfect opportunity for our viewers to enjoy latest blockbusters and wholesome entertainment through our pay-per-view offerings,” Umesh Rao, senior vice president, Reliance Big TV, said in a statement. The other new releases which were picked up by various DTH platforms in the recent past include What’s your Rashee, Kaminey, Rock On!!, Delhi 6, The President is Coming, Jodhaa Akbar and Aa Dekhe Zara. Currently, movie-on-demand or pay per movie caters to a limited market. Less than 5% of the DTH subscriber bases watch these movies, according to estimates. But the number is expected to grow substantially.
The total DTH subscriber numbers are over 16 million at present, and expected to touch 20 million by the end of this financial year. These numbers do not include the users of Prasar Bharati DTH, which is a free to air platform. In the private sector, the DTH players include Dish TV, Tata Sky, Airtel, ADAG group’s Reliance BIG TV, Sun TV and Videocon.