You surely remember the time when the film ‘Black’ was released – you know, when we had ‘Ek ka Dus’ and ’Dus ka Bees’ and all that, it was the time when the cool taporis outside the single screen cinema halls sold us the latest blockbuster tickets and a film ran for weeks and not just for a weekend, the time when your heart went dhak dhak for the star you were a fan of!
That time seems so far away now and the consumer behaviour so alien in the current scheme of things, or is it that we are still doing the same things but only digitally? Let’s explore this phenomenon a bit more.
The ‘10 ka Bees’ is a simple case of demand and supply. If the demand is more then we charge more, and this opportunistic pricing is very similar to hiked ticket rates of Dhoom3 or Chennai Express. It is time bound, seasonal and based on perception; and although we have changed our methods, the logic is still the same.
A film running in theaters for weeks has now been converted into a blockbuster weekend, closely followed by a huge satellite release and subsequent digital releases on iOS or Wed Platforms, on devices etc.
We are simply taking advantage of the ‘Long Tail’ or the unlimited shelf space that digital offers as a medium.
Piracy of popular movies, or any movie for that matter, is being carried out by the pirates or the bootleggers armed with a camera and not by dappers with ‘handkerchiefs’ around their necks. The consumption has become one on one and hence, the fulfilment is also on a one on one basis.
So, you are first lured to watch the film in a theater or TV and if that doesn’t work out, then on the Web or Mobile and you are charged a differentiated pricing based on how big or small your screen is. Mobile being the cheapest, among all the options.
But, what if the assumptions are skewed and it’s not about the size of the screen but about the ‘immediacy’ of the desire to watch the content? What if I, as a 17 year old, don’t want to watch your content in theater but will pay a premium to watch it on my personal screen? Are you making it available or are you leaving the market open to pirates?
The one on one distribution system is one where, just like my different payment modes of credit, debit, net banking and cash on demand, I could choose to watch my favourite content on mobile, web, on demand TV, theatre or cloud on the day/date of release with differentiated pricing, with theatre being the most lucrative and viable in the week of release and becoming more expensive in the subsequent weeks and other devices becoming cheaper with the loss of the sentiment of ‘impulse buy’.
It’s not futuristic, it’s just a case of who blinks first. Are you ready?
Cinema will be consumed on demand and on impulse and on a screen of choice. The forced monopolistic trade is anyway not working. It’s time we wake up and smell the coffee. It’s time!