The Covid-19 epidemic has had a major impact on the entertainment industry. Consumer-facing enterprises were affected the hardest when the globe shifted inward. The impact of national and localised lockdowns implemented to control the spread of the virus is still being felt in the aviation, hotel, and tourist industries.

The entertainment business, too, has seen significant transformations. The enormous screen vanished without warning. Several OTT video-streaming providers have published big-budget films. The material on these platforms exploded as a result of the pandemic-induced lockdowns. Lights, Camera, Action…The Show Goes On, a report by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) released at the CII Big Picture Summit 2020, found that Tier-II, III, and IV towns have taken the lead in adopting OTT services, with 1.5 times the number of new OTT users compared to metro and Tier-I cities during the pandemic.

Online platforms have seen the release of big-budget films such as Coolie No 1, Gulabo Sitabo, Sadak 2, and Bhuj: The Pride of India, among others. Not only movies, but also online material is rapidly being generated to attract a totally different type of audience that relatively few films ever addressed. Manoj Bajpayee’s character in Family Man on Perfect Videos is a prime illustration of how the concept of a star or the main lead is shifting.

The commercial concept of a matinee idol—the male lead whose name was enough to get the box office ringing—seems to have lost significance because films no longer required a big-screen distribution. The epidemic served as a sobering lesson that good content does not always require big names to be effective. OTT platforms have also become the most important channel for intellectual earnestness among creators. It’s simpler to create “important material” when they’re not constrained by considerations for film distribution. Online platforms enable creators to create without being constrained by financial constraints.

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