Malayalam films have been among the more innovative and creative ones in the recent past. The virus had a dramatic effect on the industry but the presence of the OTT platform helped it in a big way. GP Vijayakumar, Film Producer and Distributor of films was articulating his position during a session while discussing the changing scenario in Indian film distribution.He said there was a great deal of opposition when OTT made its initial appearance because the belief was that it would end theatrical releases and shut movie businesses. However, the traditional film industry, theatres and blockbuster movies will continue to stay despite OTT and TV channels being around. They would only complement the entertainment business of cinema financially, making it more lucrative. The viewership on OTT is ever increasing at a faster pace which is pegged at 20 per cent now. He said “With the advent of COVID-19, OTT turned into the basic carrier of films for the producer to gain whatever revenue he could during the tough times. On the other hand, the release and promotional costs too have mounted hugely over the years. With the satellite market picking up, the cost of production increased in the 90s, while multiplexes multiplied in numbers, all leading to the industry faring bad in 2010.” Throwing light on changing film viewing preferences of audiences, he said: “The tastes and choices of movie goers have changed considerably, they are becoming more selective; people have started liking more from web series. The primary target among audiences these days is the youngsters who are on the move most of the time unlike the older people who settle down to watch TV genres and serials after reaching home. Being app-savvy, the younger lot surf through to catch up with the latest releases”. Vijayakumar observed that there is no dearth of quality and technological expertise in the industry in the country, suggesting only “professional approach to movie making is what is necessary for success” in every venture. He was emphatic that funds invested in movie-making should be recoverable. Replying to an online query on financing of films amidst the difficult economic situation following emergence of COVID-19, he said “the industry needs more and more producers coming forward to make worthwhile movies based on merit and professional considerations; and producers should be cautious against funding projects seeking only fame and money”. He stressed on the importance of financial discipline. He said “The industry has to sustain itself, and take care of its workforce following safety and considering the value of opportunities. There will always be people around to manipulate finances for the sake of name, fame and even to gain experience. Unprofessional approach to movie making without a proper script, sound commercial prospects and a message to convey, is not advisable”.
He concluded, sounding a positive note that the film industry still has a bright future ahead, despite the various challenges the industry has been facing.