Zee Joins The Digital Race With Radhe
Wednesday 30 December 2020 15.00 ISTBox Office India Trade Network
Zee has made a 250 crore investment on Radhe including PA and basically it has joined the digital race as the interesting part of the deal is the digital and PVOD rights pegged at 130 crore. This is a first for ZEE because Hotstar has had films pegged at 100 crore plus while Amazon Prime has actually payed 100 crore plus for some films. We say pegged as this when one studio has all the rights and then values are pegged for the sister concerns for various rights. Here with Zee there is distribution, digital, satellite and music.
The worldwide theatrical rights are pegged at 60 crore which means that Zee is still expecting theatrical business to be down on the expected release date which is May. This date will be kept if India remains as it is now with the pandemic but if there is another wave then it will be another story. Zee could be right about the business aspect as it will probably take longer than five months for the families to return.
The film will be a theatrical release as it stands today but its not known how the PVOD play will work. The hope is that there is a gap between theatrical and PVOD and not simultaneous. Warner Brothers did the simultaneous release with Wonder Woman 1984 and the results are there to be seen and its pretty much certain that piracy hit the theatrical results. Also Salman Khan has a hardcore fan base and its certain to assume this fanbase will not be happy with a simultaneous PVOD release.
Also Black Widow and Satyamev Jayate 2 are scheduled to release around the same time at the moment and they could opt for Eid also and though Radhe is a far bigger film for India than these two a simultaneous PVOD release can level the playing field a bit. This is not because people will be subscribing for the film at home but because the film will be everywhere due to a clean HD pirated print.
The price for Radhe on digital and this time payed by Zee which were not known till now to pay big money for digital rights shows the power of mass cinema. Irrespective of what is being said about them there have been two films (Laxmii and Coolie No1) which have given subscription levels a push and now Zee which is behind the likes of Hotstar and Amazon in terms of subscribers have played their hand with Radhe. There is no doubt that Radhe will give a push but you need deep pockets to keep this going as these films do not come cheap. In terms of financial recovery for Zee for digital can only come if it is given to another platform like Amazon or others as they will pay a certain amount.
Its good for the film industry though as the digital platforms need to show subscriber growth in their fiscals and its the Laxmii's, Coolie's and Radhe's which aid in that which means heavy prices for the bigger films. Also its not as if the subscriber growth will cover the price of a film but when everything else fails to add any numbers then the content which does becomes huge and that end of financial year subscription growth in the books is the bottom line to OTT at present.
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