26 April 2020
New Delhi: It is quite some time before people start flocking to cinema halls or other entertainment events. For now, they will stick to their stay-at-home lifestyle even after the lockdown is lifted and even after the coronavirus crisis is over. And that's expected to have a ripple effect on the television industry with the trend of long format making a comeback on the small screen post-pandemic.
Signalling gloomy days for film business and live entertainment gigs, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned out to be a major inflexion point for changing the way people consume entertainment content, registering fast pace growth of television and OTT platforms.
"Collective public experience will be replaced by collective family viewing, that too within the confines of their respective homes," producer-director Vivek Budakoti of banner Katha Kottage, told IANS.
According to a recent report by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), TV consumption continues to show a growth of 40 per cent over a pre-COVID period now at 1.24
trillion minutes -- the increase led by both reach and average time spent. It also stated that the Hindi GEC in HSM (Hindi speaking market) is at an all-time high with 8.5 billion impressions with mythological shows leading the way.
"This trend will be there for time being before people go back to cinema halls. Web platforms will gain traction amidst TV and cinema. It may sort of work as a bridge between two seasoned mediums," Budakoti pointed out.
Actor Sharad Malhotra feels "even after lockdown is removed and the situation gets normal people" will think twice before stepping out for a film.
"Long-running shows will be in demand more than before," Sharad added.
To this, actress Vahbiz Dorabjee added: "There is a possibility that the trend of long-running shows will be back. This pandemic will stay in people's minds for a very long time. Even after it goes, it is going to take a long time to settle down because people won't be able to forget this deadly virus so soon."
The change has started reflecting already. At a time when limited series are in vogue, Disney+ Hotstar has commissioned 234 episodes of the animated series "Selfie With Bajrang".
One can say that television has always been a haven for long-running shows with popular "Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah", "Kumkum Bhagya" and "Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai" being the case in point.
Adaa Khan noted that "daily soaps are like dal chawal. Long-running hit shows like ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai' already exist. You should have a constant story to tell and it should click with masses", with actress Jasmin Bhasin pointing out: "Long-running shows always existed depending upon being hit. If people love specific shows they continue seeing it. The story has to constantly hold the audience's interest."
But one can't overlook the fact that finite concept was fast seeping into the industry, with sequels and limited series becoming a new reality of the television landscape.
Benaifer Kohli, producer of the hit show "Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain!", feels "even a finite show, if it works, can be converted into a long-running show."
"Because you don't want to close a show which is being loved by the public. So, you automatically tend to lend more stories and make it a long-running show. Long-running shows will be the order and trend of the day in the times to come," Kohli told IANS.