Film Business 3.0 – A shift from a transactional to a transformational model

Film Business 3.0, which arrived in a post-pandemic world, has technology in its side in order to change the way we make films.

In its 110-year-old history, Indian cinema has entertained us with thousands of films in multiple languages and genres. From the time of Dada Saheb Phalke’s ‘Raja Harishchandra’, arguably the country’s first full-length feature film, cinematic form, technique, production, distribution, and exhibition have undergone a sea change.

From theatres and screening venues that were few and far between, we now have multiplexes, single-screen halls, and the best of Indian and global cinema available to us at the flick of a button, thanks to streaming platforms and DTH connections. This also means that the audience has evolved, thanks to the surfeit of entertainment, and now expects a lot more than just formulaic cinema. Traditional ways of thinking and making films are in flux and the industry is witnessing huge creative and attitudinal shifts.

From unorganised screenings in the early years of film-making, to technological advancements and a structured exhibition model, we have come a long way. The business of cinema over time also evolved to involve paperwork and a contractual relationship between the producer, the distributor, and the exhibitor.

The Film Business 2.0 model hence became transactional, and technology also refined and elevated the cinematic experience and made it more immersive. Post the entry of corporates, creativity and business strategies coalesced and new-age monopolies began to emerge to dilute the hegemony of legacy studios. The biggest change was that a producer began to assign all the rights to a corporate entity or a content aggregator for a one-time payment which was a full and final settlement. This made the producer inconsequential once his/her movie rights were sold.

Now we come to Film Business 3.0 or the transformational phase which arrived in the post-pandemic scenario. We now exist in a new normal where change is the only constant if we want to continue making films. We are now getting used to remote meetings, online deals, and digital transactions. Even the usage of E-signatures has become normative. Technology has shrunk the world and reduced the distance between the buyer and seller, making the business market one borderless, global entity.

Amid this tumult, we need to ask some tough questions, starting with the biggest one, – “Are the producers and the creators prepared for this massive shift?”

What will help creators and producers of content most during this time is a better grasp of Intellectual Property (IP) protocols and learning the way Law, Labour, and Market potential can be optimised. Let us break these down a bit:

Law – Under Film Intellectual Property (IP), a proper legal framework ensures that content is safe and in case of any infringement, there can be redressal by offering valid evidence. A legal structure also ensures that during the sale of film rights, the buyer and the seller are free from the fear of any issue in the future.

Labour – Film production units can now tap into the potential of virtual backdrops, elevated SFX and even seamless script development with the usage of AI based ChatGPT. The future of cinema is closely interwoven with how it can use technology without losing its creative soul.

Market – Decentralised ownership of a film can now be achieved through Blockchain and elevate the industry to a higher level.

So to answer the question if the creators are ready for changes ahead, I would quote author Idowu Koyenikan who said, “Opportunity does not waste time with those who are unprepared.” Or as Shakespeare put it, “Readiness is all.” The point being, that when a transformational wave arrives, we must ride it or concede defeat. I am happy to be a part of a generation that wants to grow beyond what is conventional to what is exceptional.

By – D Vijay, Chief Operations,

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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