The Metaverse Debut Of Hollywood Moves Slowly. But It May Alter The Course Of Indian Cinema In The Future

3D, 4D, and 5D should move over. Metaverse is here.

In March 2022, Prabhas’s movie Radhe Shyam made Indian film history by putting its trailer online. About 200,000 people went into the metaverse to watch it in the first three minutes after it came out, which caused the servers to crash.

The action movie Vikram, starring South Indian actor Kamal Haasan, also has a metaverse experience and an NFT (non-fungible tokens) platform that gives movie fans unique art, digital works, and posters.

So, why does the entertainment business use NFTs so much?

First, an NFT is a piece of data that stores proof of ownership and proves that a digital asset, like a piece of digital art, is unique. This data is stored using blockchain technology. NFTs are popular and different from other cryptocurrencies because they can’t be exchanged for cash. The music and entertainment business in India wants to take advantage of this.

For example, Pooja Entertainment, a production company based in Mumbai, recently bought a plot of land in the metaverse and built a movie theater-like experience there. More projects like this are in the works as companies try to change how people see movies with NFT tickets and let fans meet their favorite stars in the metaverse.

Indeed, we live in exciting times. But can metaverse be a valuable tool for the Indian movie business? If so, how big of a chance is this?

Industry experts say that, if done right, metaverse could be a big deal in the future, especially for the film exhibition and production industries, because it can give viewers a more immersive experience.

One of the leading daily news talked to industry watchers, founders, and production houses to find out what the entertainment business has in store for the metaverse.

The movies and the virtual world

vr: future of movie industry - vr world
Technavio, UK-based market research and advisory firm, predicts that the entertainment industry will use metaverse at a CAGR of 8.55 percent between 2022 and 2026 and that the market will reach USD28.92 billion by 2026.

Metaverse could be a big deal for India, which has one of the largest movie industries in the world. By 2020, it will be worth USD19 billion. Already, the industry is seeing a lot of investment activity in the metaverse, which is an early sign.

Take Pooja Entertainment as an example. It spent about INR5 lakh on an NFT to buy 210 square meters of virtual land. Poojaverse promises that people who use Cryptovoxels at 71 Gazelle Ave. will have an experience like going to the movies.

Starting with its new film Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, in which Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff star, the company wants to make experiences that feel like real life. Promotional events for the movie will be held in the metaverse.

While Bollywood is starting to realize how big of a deal metaverse could be, South Indian films have already started using it to promote and market themselves. The company that made KGF: Chapter 2, Hombale Films, is based in Bengaluru. They created digital avatars in metaverse so that fans could play their games and experiences based on the movie. Vikram made its own metaverse called Vikramverse. Users who buy NFTs can get special perks like meeting the cast and crew or attending special screenings.

Several people in the industry say that while the metaverse as a concept might take some time to develop, NFTs will play a significant role in the future of media and entertainment.

Rolling NFTs
The founder of Block tickets, a company that sells NFT tickets for movies and events, Nishant Chandra, says that nine out of ten metaverse movie projects won’t catch on. He says this is because the metaverse can’t be an immersive experience at this point.

“It’s not so smooth that you can watch a match or something (like a movie) on metaverse, and that won’t happen for another six months to a year. “But there are a lot of other things you can use,” he says.

At the moment, it costs a lot to get a VR headset that can make an experience more immersive. On Amazon. in, Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 VR headset with 256 GB of storage costs INR44,999. Even though some models cost as little as INR3,000, the quality and price will be necessary.

This includes marketing using NFT. Block tickets are now working with companies that offer premier shows with NFT tickets. Premieres are, by definition, invitation-only events where friends and family of actors and other people who worked on the movie can go. This is slowly getting better.

Companies like Block tickets are now working with other companies to invite fans to these exclusive events. Fans can access these events by buying movie tickets that can also be used as access cards. You can also sell NFTs with actor autographs on them as a way to get people talking.

For example, the prices for NFT tickets to see Vikram range from USD 13 to USD 1,333. For USD13, you can get on the list of special guests for future events, and for USD1,333, you can talk to the movie’s cast and crew—virtually, of course. According to the website, the team behind Vikram will release another set of NFTs to let fans meet their favorite actor in person. These are likely to cost more than other things.

Even though the trend is still changing in India, production companies worldwide have been putting money into NFTs. Fox Entertainment, based in the United States, has set up a $100 million fund for its new NFT studio. The popular NFT project Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is also making movies, and the people who own Bored Ape NFTs can try out for roles.

“A lot of trying new things is going on in the West. We don’t have an NFT project in India that costs billions. But it will happen eventually. We’re talking about it with a few players right now. Chandra says, “We also watch how the BAYC experiment goes.”

NFTs are important even in the business of showing movies. Since the pandemic, the movie theatre business has been looking for new ways to get people to go to the film. Recently, PVR Cinema was the first theatre in India to use Movie NFTs to promote S. S. Rajamouli’s film RRR. PVR held a contest and gave the winners six PVRRR NFTs, which they could use to buy a one-of-a-kind digital art piece of the movie.

pvr to explore social distancing in its theatres after lockdown - the hindu

Where avatars and brand loyalty come from

Experts think that the idea of making your avatars and having other immersive experiences in the metaverse is a way to connect with a broader range of people around the world.

An industry analyst says, “It’s a great place for a brand or producer to market their product.” You can buy an NFT or an avatar and use it on multiple platforms. This lets you show off your fandom and identity, making the experience more immersive.

Take KGF 2.0 as an example. The KGFVerse avatar was made so that fans could build different games and virtual places for KGF to move around in the metaverse. For example, fans of the movie Vikram can talk to the movie’s digital “avatar.”

Similarly, Hungama’s Web 3.0 initiative HeftyVerse launched a game in metaverse based on Ajay Devgn’s movie Runway 34, so fans could experience the thrill. This is the second time Ajay Devgn has worked with HeftyVerse. They had worked together before on the actor’s OTT show Rudra: The Edge of Darkness, where he was shown in a metaverse avatar that had never been seen before.

“Being able to have a digital extension of oneself is a great way to get people involved. Metaverse allows artists to connect with their fans on multiple platforms more personally, improve their fans’ experiences, and make them want to buy the artist’s physical or digital products without moving from one place to another. “It’s a great way to build brand loyalty,” says Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO, and co-founder of TheSmallBigIdea. His company is in charge of Ajay Devgn Films’ digital marketing.

A big help for independent filmmakers
Aside from the big-name products, metaverse gives independent filmmakers a much-needed alternative way to make money.

Ravi Krishnan, the founder of Filmfare, a company that builds metaverse venues, says that independent filmmakers are more excited about this idea because it is easy to get rights. They are always looking for new ways to make money. Instead of paying royalties, the company buys the rights to show independent films in its Cineplex on the 3D virtual world browser-based platform Decentraland for a fee and for a certain amount of time. It got $60,000 from the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (Decentraland DAO) to work on this project.

The company thinks that between 400 and 500 people will go to the virtual screening and spend an average of two to three hours there. Krishnan says that most of the people in the audience are from the US, Europe, and Brazil. India isn’t a big cryptocurrency market, so few people there join. The movies are free to watch, and Filmrare also makes money from selling wearables in the market and renting out space for events.

Many people, like Krishnan, are excited about how the “new Internet” could change the entertainment industry. However, it will be a long and challenging road to get there.

A hard road ahead

Producers and event organizers say that the NFT boom is the future of live music and entertainment, but it’s not that easy. We are still in the early stages of the development of this technology, so they have to deal with a few problems first. Copyright is the hardest thing for artists to deal with.

This is not a new problem, but it needs to be fixed for NFTs and the metaverse to take off. Creators often make NFTs of well-known artists, even if they don’t have the right to do so. They need to know that the copyright owner must permit NFTs of actors to be made. Some businesses, like Diginoor, a marketplace for movies, are trying to solve this problem.

Symphony Recording Company gave the company the rights to SP Balasubramaniam’s last devotional song, Vishwaroopa Darisanam. Shaamil Karim, co-founder, and CEO of Diginoor, an NFT platform based in movie theatres, says, “Symphony Recording Company is a well-known and long-standing record label. SP Balasubramaniam was given money to make a soundtrack. So, they owned the rights to the music. So, these record labels can sign an agreement and provide a certain platform the right to do NFTs with their content, and they will be guaranteed a certain amount of the money.

Then, there are problems when it comes time to implement the plan.

Sai Krishna VK, the founder of Scapic, an AR startup that Flipkart bought, says that there are three problems. “First, making these worlds that connect must be more accessible. Two, there should be exciting ways to stay in these worlds for a long time, and three, it should be easy to get into, use, and leave the 3D spaces.

Also, metaverse in its purest form is still very dependent on devices. It is still hard to move around in the metaverse while wearing the big VR goggles. It reminded me of the late 1990s when people used to carry mobile phones that were as big as bricks. It will take a few years of experimenting with technology before VR goggles are as easy to use as smartphones. And to do that, investments need to be made early on.

But it’s hard to sell because it’s hard to explain what the business could be in the future. The price of these devices will also significantly impact how people use the metaverse.

“It’s hard to explain what’s great about early investment to the people who matter. “You need someone who can see the big picture and is willing to put money in early on,” says Pillai.

Along with getting people to invest, fighting scammers is another challenging job.

“There are a few experts or people who really know this space and work well, but others are out there trying to trick people and pull scams. But we will get past these problems with new technologies and more awareness,” Pillai says.

As already said, not many people in India hold cryptocurrencies, which is also a big problem. Cryptocurrencies are used for many transactions in the metaverse, especially on the movie NFT platforms. We recently wrote an article about why India is slow to adopt cryptocurrencies, which will be a big reason why crypto-based movie-NFT media and metaverse experiences don’t catch on.

Making people understand is another big problem. A source in the industry who asked not to be named said that people want to “see” the future possibilities.

“It’s important to show people the experience instead of telling them about it,” says Ram (name changed), a technology professional who recently made a metaverse trailer for a South Indian movie. He charges about INR10,000 for a simple trailer and INR30,000 for one with VFX.

There are also not enough people who understand the metaverse and know how to get around it. “Right now, our industry is in its infancy, and even the artists need to know more about metaverse,” says one of the experts mentioned above.

In conclusion

prabhas' radhe shyam first movie in the world to launch trailer in metaverse - businesstoday
We used to think it was impossible when, say, the main character in a science fiction movie entered a video game by putting on some fancy-looking glasses. With the growth of the metaverse, that’s now a real possibility.

Metaverse opens many possibilities for the entertainment industry, from making avatars to combining virtual and actual film shoots. The metaverse experience could be the next big thing to get people interested in the content, not just for the production industry but also for the movie theatre business.

With the rise of OTT platforms, the movie business has been trying to get people back into the theatres for a few years. Then the pandemic hit, which gave OTT content even more of a boost.

Theaters and movie theatres hope that new ideas will bring in more people to compensate for what they’ve lost. Multiplexes like PVR Cinemas, INOX, and Cinepolis are spending a lot of money to make their movies more immersive.

In the future, multiplex owners will be able to add metaverse screens, which are like IMAX 3D or 4DX screens. But theaters will have to think about the costs of capital and logistics. Once the logistics are taken care of, metaverse could become another way for cinemas to make money.

Krishna from Scapic says that metaverse is much more than the latest gadget or fad. Instead, he says, it is the start of a completely new technology platform that will change how we communicate, connect, and live.

“The last time we saw a change like this was in the 1800s when the basic technologies for recording, broadcasting, and making moving pictures and sounds were invented. “From these technologies came the radio, movies, TV, the telephone, and the Internet, which gave rise to many new industries and works of art,” he says.

India is behind more advanced countries by at least a couple of years to make the metaverse experience possible. Pillai thinks that Web3 will be widely used in marketing in three years.

“As soon as that happens, the number of people making immersive experiences will increase. “The key would be not to think short-term, but to invest in a long-term solution that will work better in the long run,” he says.

But investing in an ecosystem will be very important, and people will need to be able to get a physical reward or a secondary reward from what they buy or do.

“Beyond buying an art form or an avatar, the avatar will need to be able to be used for other things. “Once that happens, things will get interesting,” says Pillai.

edited and proofread by nikita sharma


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