Dolby on coronavirus surge: 'These weeks have been an aberration…will push people towards best experience'
With movie theaters being closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Indians desperate to be entertained are consuming more visual content on their TVs within the comfort of their home.
“We see a huge uptake in terms of the living room experiences where we see people experiencing content, both from global OTT services as well as local OTT services,” Ashim Mathur, Senior Director Marketing, Emerging Markets, Dolby Laboratories, tells indianexpress.com over a phone call from Singapore. Mathur says Dolby has witnessed the same pattern on the audio side as well. “People are really experiencing this in such a big magnitude for the first time,” he said.
Mathur says the biggest reason behind this shift is the rise of OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Consumers who stay indoors during the lockdown are gravitating toward watching movies and TV shows on their TVs and smartphones. The point Mathur is trying to make here is that major OTT platforms now support Dolby’s core technologies and because of that consumers are experiencing rich visuals and surround sound at home. “There is a huge amount of global content which is coming in on these services, but there is more local content which is created locally in India, which is now adopting Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technologies,” he said.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we consume content. The shift has already started with movies skipping theatrical release and instead of finding a new home on OTT platforms. Two big Bollywood movies, “Gulabo Sitabo” starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana, and “Shakuntala Devi” featuring Vidya Balan, will directly release on Amazon’s Prime Video service. Experts say releasing movies directly on OTT platforms could be the new normal in the post-COVID-19 world.Home audio is one category Mathur says will benefit the most due to coronavirus lockdown. (Image credit: Dolby)
“As and when theatres open up and as and when people go back, we will be working with all our partners to make sure people have the best experience on the exhibition side. We will also work with the content creators to make sure they are able to tell their stories better with our technology,” he says.
Mathur agrees living room experience was not given enough importance, but the coronavirus pandemic has made people realise the importance of cinematic experience and immersive sound. “These few weeks have been an aberration and this will really push people to look for the best experience. I’m sure when people buy their living room devices, whether it’s televisions or soundbars, they will definitely look for the features that will provide the best visual quality and audio quality,” he explains.
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Home audio is one category Mathur says will benefit the most due to coronavirus lockdown. “If you look at the last three to four quarters, we have seen a huge amount of growth in this particular category. Soundbars, in particular, have really grown definitely from a small base,” he adds.