The shutdown of cinemas and the early closing of restaurants will mean low footfall at the malls. Most malls were hoping for a ‘high spirit’ trend to continue in 2022, but the tables turned due to Omicron. Major film releases like RRR and Jersey have been pushed after the arrival of the third wave. The temporary closure of operations in the Delhi-NCR region, Bihar and a few other states are seen to be hurting the multiplexes’ revenues.
Meanwhile, the occupancy rate has gone down, and ticket costs have gone up. Something that’s bothering a lot of film enthusiasts, who have complained that the prices for recently-launched films were as high as Rs 1,000. This is where OTT platforms come to the picture who are taking benefit of the situation. They are slashing their monthly subscription rate, for instance, Netflix recently reduced its monthly package price to Rs 149 from Rs 199. This was done to woo the wider audience and deepen its penetration in India.
How Does This Concern You?
This will majorly sadden the theatre-going lot, especially middle-aged adults who still haven’t accepted the idea to watch their favourite films at home. Smaller films are not receiving as much footfall as compared to big-ticket films. The war between multiplexes and OTT platforms is already visible. After December 15, shares of PVR and Inox Leisure dived but later stood back given mild COVID-19 cases. If more restrictions arrive at the state level, especially in Mumbai, then the companies will have to suffer again. Until then, multiplexes can continue to run their operations and can grab revenue as much as they can.
What Lies Ahead?
Mild cases have helped multiplexes to swim through for now. The rising cases of Flurona and other COVID-19 variants still pose a threat to the multiplex industry, but so far, media experts believe that chances of a full lockdown are far from sight. This is fuelling confidence in the theatres that are trying to run their operations even at 50% capacity.