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Ponniyin Selvan 2, Leo, Kanguva, Thangalaan: This is how much OTT players are paying for top southern movies

Big-budget movies like Ponniyin Selvan 2, Leo, Kanguva and Thangalaan are generating significant non-theatrical revenue through streaming rights deals.

Ponniyin Selvan 2, Leo, Kanguva, Thangalaan: This is how much OTT players are paying for top southern movies
Posters of much-awaited Tamil movies.

Last Updated: 04.07 PM, Apr 23, 2023


The consensus in the film industry is that digital players have replaced satellite partners in helping movie producers recover their investments. Although the survival of the box office business in India is called into question with the increasing popularity of streaming services, producers have seemingly grown fond of OTT players.

According to reports, there is a high demand for South movies with top stars, and OTT players are willing to pay top dollar for streaming rights. As a result, the revenue from the sale of digital rights now reportedly covers approximately 50% of a movie's budget.

Streaming platforms have become dependable allies for producers of big-budget movies like Ponniyin Selvan 2, Leo, Kanguva, and Thangalaan. The going rates for big-star movies have grown exponentially in recent years. According to media reports, the sale of the streaming rights to Amazon Prime Video fetched a whopping Rs 80 crore for the producers of Suriya's Kanguva. And it's said Netflix bought the rights to Vijay's upcoming movie Leo at Rs 120 crore . However, an official confirmation on the said deals is awaited. 

"Earlier, the top movies were going for Rs 15 crore and you could get smaller movies for Rs 4-5 crore. Now, top movies are going for Rs 125 crore and small movies are expecting Rs 8-9 crore," said a top executive of a leading OTT platform at the recently-held CII Dakshin Conference, explaining the reason behind the decline in the number of films acquired by the streaming platforms. 

The steep price tags of big-star movies have allowed producers to secure their investments, providing a safety net even if the films do not perform well at the box office. However, this trend has taken a toll on small-budget movies. 

"The movie budgets (of OTT platforms) that would have supported 40 movies in the past are supporting only 15 movies today," added the executive. 

The OTT platforms exhaust their entire movie budget by buying the rights to bigger movies, leaving small-budget movies in a lurch. This has resulted in a decline in the number of films acquired by streaming platforms.

Kannada actor-producer Ramya also rued about how the big players were not buying the rights to small-budget Kannada movies. "There are no OTT takers for Kannada films. Netflix, for example, they buy Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films. But, they don't buy Kannada films at all. Because of some policy, they have. Despite the fact that Kannada films are doing so well (KGF, Kantara), there are no takers. You have Amazon, which will only take films after it releases in theatres. Sony is not buying. You only Voot and Zee5. So the options are very limited," said Ramya at a media event recently. 

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