The Theatre Experience Vs the OTT Experience

2020 was a year that would be pinpointed in when the story of mankind is told in the future. Right from the Australian bushfires, to oil-spills, flash floods and cyclones. But the one disaster that shook the world into a standstill was the Corona Virus, or Covid-19.

Though the virus itself was formed in 2019, it spread worldwide only in 2020, and by late March – early April, it had succeeded in bringing the entire world to a standstill. And even as it is July 2021, many of the places that had closed down, haven’t opened back up. One such place being movie theatres.

Movie theatres were a prime spot to hangout among teenagers, a place to chill during the weekend for the working adults, and overall in general, a place that everyone looked forward to visit. In 2020, that closed down, and people were confined to their homes. No new content available for quite some time. People began missing the famous “theatre experience”. The big screen, the booming sounds, the chill room, just leaning back and enjoying a fun time with their friends or family. That shut down due to the pandemic.

But as the saying goes, as one door closes, another opens. The pandemic paved way for the Over the Top or OTT platforms, a feature that most parts of India were still not familiar with. The idea that you can watch movies that haven’t even released yet online was something new to the Indians. This was utilized well by the OTT platforms, who did the crucial task of keeping people entertained during the lockdown. The producers of the films were also happy as completed movies, which had to be shelved due to the pandemic could now be released online, and would no longer be a non performing asset for them.

OTT platforms managed to release new movies, and TV shows. In fact, filmmakers started making movies specifically for the OTT medium, as can be seen in movies like Joji or Sara’s. This meant that people could now stream quality content, from their nice and cozy living rooms, maybe even in their pajamas, saving them the trouble of even going to the theatres!

But all this raises the question, was 2020 the end of theatres? Would there be a revival of theatres? Chances are it is not. While OTT films can be viewed from the comforts of one’s homes, theatres stand for something greater than just movies. It’s not just confined to the fact that theatres give an optimum experience of the movies. There is a lot more to it. The interaction in movies, the discussions with your friends or family after the movies, mostly over lunch or dinner at a restaurant, and simply the vibe of going to the cinemas with them, and meeting them in person for something fun. These pleasures transcend the comfort that one gets while watching movies in an OTT forum.

This also does not mean that OTTs would also cease to exist once the theatres reopen. OTTs would still be preferred after a long day of work. All it means is that movies have now become more accessible to everyone, either through theatres or through OTT platforms!

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