Do you remember a time, long before the digital set-top box became a permanent member of your household? Long before the multiplex culture arose in India? If you missed catching your favourite movie at a theatre hall, you’d have to wait a year or two for it to air on your television screen. Today, most people do not fret if they miss a movie because they know they’ll be able to catch it, sooner rather than later. Let’s take a look at just how much the film distribution and consumption model has evolved over the years.

Catching pirated version of the latest film, courtesy the local cable provider.

Most of us sought the services of the local cable television provider, who also aired their own channels on which we would religiously check for the latest movies. We’ve spent hours and days in the hopes of catching the latest film as it aired on the local cable network. This illegal mode of film distribution actually involved recording a movie while it played in theatre. The end result was a bad quality film, but most of us didn’t mind it, so long as we could watch the latest movies.

The only way one could watch the latest film in a decent print was to wait about a year till it aired on television. Do you remember Sony TV being your favourite channel as it aired all the hit films doled out by the YRF camp and Dharma Productions?

You needn’t wait a year to catch your favourite films anymore.

Instead of spending 250-350 on a single movie, minus popcorn and coke, today’s consumers don’t mind waiting a month or two for the movie to air on TV. Tata Sky was the first Indian film distribution channel to launch ‘showcase events’ that aired recently released movies without a break.

With the advent of new age web platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, HotStar and ALT Balaji, the film distribution process has discovered new territory. Production houses are tying up with these web platforms, selling the viewing rights of their films even before its theatrical release. The web channels serve as distributors and release the movies within a month or two, raking in profits much sooner than it was possible earlier. Consumers too, don’t mind spending a few bucks a month to subscribe to these web platforms.

The power of a star-studded film viz a viz film distribution.

In several cases, such as ‘Dangal’ by Aamir Khan Productions or ‘Happy New Year’, by Red Chillies Entertainment, the films were considered a financial success, much before its release, simply because the production cost was covered and paid for by the movie distributors. While the former was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the latter was distributed by Yash Raj Films.

 

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