Ours is a generation of people who either don’t want to come home or just don’t want to leave it altogether,there are no middle grounds for us to hold, nope, nada, none! A while ago with the opening of multiplexes over the country, there was a certain excitement whenever there was a movie going up and plans being made weeks earlier. Good old days I tell you. Cinemas were flourishing, cinema owners were happy, cinema goers were happy, basically it was a win win situation. But then came in the online streaming portals like netflix ifflix, popcorn time and many others that gave us the access to latest Movies and TV serials on the go right in the palm of our hands, which made a whole lot of difference in the dynamics of the entertainment industry in a very short span of time. Now both provide us entertainment, cost us money and time of course, but can we say that these portals might be a death blow to an already feeble film industry of Pakistan? So we sat down and thought about it and jotted down the points quite neutrally, upon which you may disagree at many, but oh well.
Cinemas were and still are a larger than life experience which you just cant have at home on your phone no matter how big the screen is or great your headphones are. You just cant. But on the other hand no matter how comfortable those recliners at the cinema are, nothing beats watching a movie in your comfiest pjs at home. That is your personal choice to prefer experience over comfort or vice versa. Cinemas used to be a hangout place for friends and family but now its a weekend night staying in, having friends over. Its merely the abundance of choices that makes the people chose whatever they want and nothing to do with the movies or cinemas.
But is it affecting the number people getting up and actually going to cinema is the question. Earlier movies made way to big screens first, TV premiered on television and then made way to the online portals that didn’t affect the enthusiasts from going to the conventional modes of entertainment. But recently there has been a trend of premiering the new release simultaneously online and in cinemas that has drastically affected the numbers.
People who already have subscriptions to the online portals that cost them less than a single movie ticket, get to watch latest movies online that makes the competition all time between the two. With multiple people watching together in a mere fraction of a ticket, saving up your fuel costs and the freedom to start and stop the movie as per your ease definitely is giving cinemas a tough time.
Also the recent surge of online exclusive movies and serials has made people more inclined towards these portals.
All of these points might favor the online portals but the amount and quality of content being put is getting questionable everyday. With an alarmingly raised numbers of content containing nudity, extreme violence and obscene language is what you get in the name of freedom of expression through these portals because of no check upon the content going up. While in the mainstream cinema a movie goes through various check points and cuts before its up for public viewing, keeping it appropriate enough for people to watch them together in a single cinema hall. While many argue that these cuts take away the essence of the story and all, they can’t deny the fact that what they watch on their phones cannot be seen in cinema halls period.
All being said, an infantile Film industry like ours, that takes one step forward and two backwards, these online portals have majorly influenced the business in past few years. While the cinemas offering limited to no amount of quality entertainment along with PEMRA banning many international movies from being released in cinemas, people haven’t turned to these portals to get their fair share of entertainment. While Pakistani film makers recognising the influence have turned to making exclusive releases online, we still have a long way to go till we make a mark and get a steady hold of both mediums.
Whether or not it will completely take over the Mainstream media, one thing is for sure that it has stirred up our industry enough to create content that would be competitive enough to pull crowds to cinema once more.