Lockdown Impact: Streaming Platforms Become the New Normal for Movie Watching
For a cine buff Shiv Sharma with little time on his hands the pursue his passion, the lockdown period has been all about catching up on the numerous movies and sitcoms he had missed earlier due to his busy work schedules.
From watching one movie a month at cinema halls to watching 2 movies a day lying on his sofa, it’s been quite a cinematic journey for him.
“Ever since the lockdown was announced, I have been spending maximum time on my sofa, binge-watching all the movies I had missed earlier or those that were not released on the big screen. Not being able to go out of the house has made me buy memberships of three different streaming platforms to keep myself entertained during these hard times,” he exclaimed.
With the entertainment industry coming to a halt due to the lockdown and movie halls being shut, many people like Shiv have switched to subscription based streaming platforms for movie watching, making it the new normal in their lives.
While the lockdown has greatly impacted the entertainment industry, the Over-The-Top (OTT) media platforms are booming. Some of the prominent players are Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Voot, Sony Liv, Jio TV etc.
The Who’s Who of Assam’s entertainment industry, too, is spending their lockdown days streaming on OTT platforms. From national award winning film director Rima Das to acclaimed producer Shahnaab Alam and documentary filmmaker Samujjal Kashyap, everyone’s been watching movies online, calling it the way forward.
“We are truly lucky to have witnessed technological advancements to such an extent that all kinds of entertainment are now available online. Being stuck in Mumbai, away from home, I have been spending my time exploring the great pieces of art available online,” Rima Das of Village Rockstar fame told G Plus.
What’s interesting is that two of Rima Das’ award winning films are available on the popular streaming site, Netflix – Village Rockstar and Bulbul Can Sing.
Das feels immensely happy about her movies reaching global audience, even during lockdown.
Similarly, Shahnaab Alam, independent film producer and the man behind Bhoga Khirikee reiterated on the massive prominence of online streaming sites.
“It is truly the era of digital streaming sites. It’s the era of transitioning from traditional to digital media. While this transitional phenomenon was already taking place, coronavirus has fast forwarded the trend of consuming media from the comfort of home,” he said.
While the release of Bhoga Khirikee got stalled first because of protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and now due to the coronavirus outbreak, there are talks of the film releasing online anytime soon.
The sudden outbreak and its consequent lockdown led to stalling of a lot of projects and film releases. However, some saw the light of the day by getting released online.
One classic example of the same is Angrezi Medium. The Covid-19 outbreak brought the world to a standstill in the second week of March, which coincidentally, also happened to be the week when the Irrfan Khan-Kareena Kapoor starrer ‘Angrezi Medium’ was all set to hit the theatres. After its theatrical release was cut short due to lockdown, it was released online on Hotstar.
Many other artists are also choosing to release their produces online.
On April 22, popular Assamese singer Angaraag Papon Mahanta released a new single to beat the lockdown blues. The new song ‘Paar Hobo Xei Xomoy’ (This Too Shall Pass) has been created, performed and shot by Papon himself during the lockdown period. Released on the occasion of Earth Day, the song aims at spreading hope and positivity.
Papon also organized a three-day virtual concert on Instagram on the occasion of Bihu, wherein he was joined by some famous singers from Bollywood and the Assamese folk industry.
With such activities happening online, internet traffic has surged so much that it raised concerns among the central government of India and the telecom operators about the potential impact on the cellular network infrastructure.
“The digital industry has decided to act immediately in the larger national and consumer interest and to ensure the robustness of the cellular network. It was unanimously agreed that as an exceptional measure, all companies will immediately adopt measures, including temporarily defaulting HD and ultra-HD streaming to SD content or offering only SD content, at bitrates no higher than 480p on cellular networks. These voluntary measures will be in effect until April 14,” reads a media statement released by the stakeholders which include Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon, Google, Sony and Zee authorities.
Further, a source in the telecom sector informed G Plus that the telecom companies are trying to make data streaming process smooth for their customers.
"With most people staying at home, online streaming has increased tremendously. So, we are trying to make the network clutter-free for better experience," the source said.
- Streaming platforms
- Amazon Prime Video
- Sony Liv
- Jio TV