This past week, Mukesh Ambani lead Jio on Monday unveiled the plans for his fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband service, JioFiber, wrapped with a host of goodies like lifetime-free voice calls and plans that offer free high-end TV sets and set-top boxes. Not only this, he has also bundled JioFiber with subscriptions to leading premium video streaming services and intends to introduce a disruptive concept for watching new movies. He announced that Premium JioFiber consumers will be able to watch movies sitting in their living rooms, the same day they get released. The service will start from September 5 and the plans start from INR 700 and go up to INR 10000 per month.

The announcement and the subsequent start of the service is certainly going to affect the DTH and CAS service providers but besides them this could even affect the business of the multiplexes, and in a major way. The multiplexes might see a loss of confi dence from the shareholders’ end because of this. This does seem really ambitious as the theatres have demanded an eight week window prior to movies releasing on any other platforms. This model is something that is being followed internationally in order to ensure the robust financial viability of all the segments of the sector, and has been replicated in India. The day it was announced, the stock prices of PVR and Inox went down considerably.

This can have a negative effect on the films as well. This can have a kind of a dominoes effect and can most certainly disrupt the market, in a bad way. With JioFiber they can offer movie on the same day of the release but they can’t offer the actual cinema experience.

It also remains to be seen as to what the “premium” JioFiber plan cost now because the monthly cost of the subscription can go up to INR 10000 a month. If the amount slides towards the higher number then things could be different.

The biggest point here is that, we as an industry will be affected in the long run, be it the producers, distributors or more importantly exhibitors, if we agree to premiere our films on the same day of the release. This is not only going to affect the industry but will also more importantly ruin the big screen experience for the audiences. Films are meant to be seen on the big screens. Let’s rather use the modern technology to improve the theatre going experience, than giving people a reason to not go to the theatres to watch the films.

By – Amul Vikas Mohan CinemaEditorialBollywood Trade Magazine