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H2 of 2021 can see pre-COVID level box office being touched: Shailesh Kapoor

Founded by Shailesh Kapoor, Ormax Media is India’s first specialised media analytics & consulting firm. With 21 years of experience in the Indian media sector across content, marketing, revenue and strategy, Kapoor has built a deep understanding of the Indian media & entertainment landscape and its evolution over the last two decades.

In conversation with Adgully, Shailesh Kapoor, Founder & CEO, Ormax Media, speaks about the 12-year journey of Ormax Media, ‘PM-CM Approval Ratings’ tracker, purpose of Ormax Media and much more.

It has been 12 years since Ormax Media has been publishing reports and analyses on the M&E Industry. How many reports and analyses did you publish this year and on which sectors?

Apart from our usual weekly and monthly reports, we have published five reports so far in 2020:

  • The Ormax OTT Audience Report: 2019: A sizing & profiling research on the video streaming category in India
  • The Ormax Box Office Report 2019, which quantified the total Box Office in India in 2019 across languages
  • Back To The Theatre: A report on audience excitement regarding theatres re-opening post-COVID
  • Fact Or Fake?: A report on news media credibility in India
  • Sizing The Cinema: A report on India’s theatrical reach

You published the ‘PM-CM Approval Ratings’ tracker. What insights can you share with your tracker on the candidates for the Bihar elections?

We launched PM & CM Approval Ratings as a long-term project. It’s a surprise that a big democracy like India does not have any credible Approval Rating data. It takes at least 2-3 years for trends to emerge, and hence, it is a bit early to use the data for political forecasting of any kind. We believe Approval Ratings have immense value for news organisations, across print, TV & digital, as they can help them analyse political stories more meaningfully over time.

You published the ‘Fact or Fake: News Media Credibility’ report. Currently, we see news channels are facing a crisis of faith with their advertisers but as an observer would you say this issue has been festering for a while?

Credibility of television news has been a matter of debate over the last few years. News viewership has grown, which suggests there is no huge crisis of credibility among the audience. But the last few months have seen news channels ignore key issues like COVID and focus on news that’s tabloid-ish in nature, and this will definitely irk some viewers. We will see in the next Fact Or Fake report, to be released in early 2021, if this has an impact on TV news’ credibility.

In your ‘Back to the Theatres’ report you surveyed when consumers would be keen to return to theatres. With that data, would you say the theatrical releases would return to pre-COVID levels in another 6 months period?

Cinemas have re-opened, but they still await new content. Except Bangla language, none of the other languages have seen new releases yet. Without content, cinemas won’t get footfalls – COVID or no COVID. We expect some big releases in December-January, which will help generate initial footfalls. By mid-2021, we can expect a regular flow of releases, once shooting restarts in full force. How long the 50% capacity cap will stay remains to be seen. But overall, one can say that second half of 2021 can see pre-COVID level box office being touched, at least for the bigger films.

Would you say the COVID disruption has highlighted and exacerbated some market inefficiencies in the media and entertainment sector? Do you see some of those inefficiencies being addressed?

The one question that has come up in this regard is: Do we need crews as big as we normally have? Post-COVID shoots have been more contained, and have shown more efficient ways of working. Having said that, it’s a tricky topic, as the entertainment industry generates a lot of employment, and cutting down on crew sizes would go against that.

The other thing that caught my attention was that so many news channels are happy doing reporting entirely from their studios, with minimal reporters on ground, during COVID. Also, from the earlier times of expensive uplink costs of OB vans to now live streaming and video conferencing, news costs will go through a major rationalisation. It may be a lot more cheaper to produce live news now than before.

What is the purpose of Ormax Media and how do your reports serve the media ecosystem stakeholders? 

Ormax Media acts as a bridge between the industry and the end consumer. We see ourselves as providers of industry knowledge to our clients, by putting forth insights on various sectors. We have collected extensive data over the last 12 and a half years, and continue to do so regularly. To be able to arm our clients with updated and insightful consumer data and analytics, to aid sound decision-making at their end, is what we take pride in.

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