As Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd launched ShemarooMe Box Office, the CEO Mr Hiren Gada talks to Box Office India team about ShemarooMe Box Office, contents available on the same, benefits for producer-director and more.
1) Firstly, Congratulations on launching ShemarooMe Box Office. Were you planning about this product from before Covid or is it during the lockdown that you took this decision?
At Shemaroo, the thinking caps are never put down; each one of us is constantly on the prowl for something out of the box. We harboured the desire of introducing a platform where the exhilaration of silver screens meets the personal touch of home screens, a place where every customer has access to their own cinema hall. Although this plan was in the back of our head, the lockdown arrived as a lightning jolt to fast track our initiative. While some perceived this lockdown as a crisis, we sensed an opportunity to translate our long-cherished dream into reality with ShemarooMe Box Office. Personally, I have always believed in difficult times being the most crucial for development and that is what I follow across by personal and professional decisions.
Q2) As we all know the competition in digital platforms is already high, so do you think this whole new idea will work in these times? Be it commercially or be it content-wise?
ShemarooMe Box Office does not wish to be a direct competitor to anybody as much as a new companion to the various ways a film can be exhibited in today’s day and age. Having said that, we have been definitive market leaders for over five decades and can attest that nothing drives us harder than knowing we are not alone in the race. There are a lot of facets that keep ShemarooMe Box Office unique. Our association with BookMyShow is to enhance our already existing huge base of viewers by joining hands with an equally renowned brand having their own mammoth share of committed users. Thus, when producers collaborate with us, they are assured the backing of a credible brand such as ShemarooMe and once the film debuts on our platform, the art can speak for itself. We also offer immense opportunities to the producers since they can take their films to other avenues once done screening at our platform, not limiting their wings to a single path. Apart from that, none of our contemporaries are offering a TVoD (Transactional Video on Demand), the internationally renowned “pay per movie” model. This is a special experiment from our side in an attempt to bring something “out of the box” into the fray. The thought process behind launching the platform is to not cannibalise on any other window but bring a new option into the ecosystem for the producers to have much more choice.
Q3) The “100 rupees 3 days” scheme sounds interesting but when the theatres will re-open, do you think the audience will still choose a small screen over the big screen?
As I said, our purpose is to provide an appropriate platform to content creators to embellish their creativity and unlock the true value of their film, and its potential to soar high. The lockdown has caused a theatrical distribution to be impossible, but online streaming is a very attractive and viable option to release a film. In the end, any movie is better off reaching its audience than lying unreleased. ShemarooMe Box Office gives these projects stuck in limbo a shot in the arm with a reputed platform to showcase their film and unlock its ability to generate revenue. We also need to understand that we are moving towards a new normal where convenience, comfort and safety shall precede all else, and what venue is safer than your own house? Having said that, nothing can change the unsurpassable experience of a movie theatre and I along with all the viewers are looking forward to experiencing that again. But every offering has a unique proposition and ours is the comfort of home that comes along.
Q4) What benefits do a producer and director get with this product?
The lockdown has rendered a lot of producers understandably worried; there are so many projects in the industry made with blood, sweat and tears that are unfortunately stuck in the cans with no certainty of their future. Sadly, for producers & directors, no release means no revenue and that is neither a healthy sign for them nor the ecosystem. ShemarooMe Box Office steps in as their friend in need at such a time. We are providing them unparalleled visibility through our platform. Furthermore, the films partnering with us are being marketed to their complete potential. We are putting the humongous might of our publicity team and social media machinery to push these films, ensuring they get maximum exposure to reach a diverse audience that watches all kinds of content under the umbrella. A key benefit of our platform is that we are not only replicating the theatrical experience for moviegoers, but also the magicians producing these movies, they too have the joy of knowing their film releases on a Friday just like it was meant to. Once the movie debuts on ShemarooMe Box Office, it is also etched onto the audience’s memory. As mentioned earlier, this serves as an advantage where producers can later take their projects to other platforms like satellite or SVoD, knowing that the movie has now been established in the minds of viewers through the window of ShemarooMe Box Office. This window shall continue to remain open after theatres resume, giving viewers the silver screen experience even at the comfort of their homes.
5) What type of content is available on ShemarooMe Box Office?
Since our arrival in the 60’s, Shemaroo has grown brick by brick to eventually become a vibrant encyclopaedia of Indian cinema. A year ago, we expanded our universe further by entering the over cluttered OTT space with the launch of our app ShemarooMe. Today, it boasts of a wide variety of content that includes yesteryear classics, latest blockbusters, regional hits, devotional content, a kids section and much more. Now, our latest entrant, ShemarooMe Box Office will give the audiences “theatre ka mazaa, ghar pe”, experience a new tale as it arrives at their doorstep every Friday on their favourite streaming platform. In a nutshell, at ShemarooMe, wherever one looks, they will find “entertainment, entertainment and entertainment”. We have an exciting line up of Bollywood and Regional movies in the coming months.