Indian film industry lost 24 million moviegoers to the pandemic: Ormax

Indian film industry lost 24 million moviegoers to the pandemic: Ormax
Indian cinema goers
  • Hindi box office has the largest share of audience but it shrunk in 2022, says the Ormax report.
  • Most South languages theatre-going audiences have seen stability or growth, the report added.
  • There were 146 million moviegoers in the January to March 2020 period, before the onset of the pandemic, as opposed to 122 million at present.
The Indian film industry has lost an estimated 24 million moviegoers to the pandemic, according to media analytics firm Ormax Media Sizing The Cinema: 2023 Report.

As per the report, India has 122 million theatre goers at present, i.e, those who watched at least one film in a theatre in the last 12 months. The corresponding number was 146 million in the January March 2020 period, right before the onset of the pandemic.

The research was conducted in January 2023 among 15,000 Indian audiences across urban and rural India.

An average Indian movie-goer watches films in 1.5 languages in a theatre in a year, according to Ormax Media.

Hindi is the most-watched language, with an audience size of 58 million. However, the Hindi theatre-going universe shrunk by 21.5% vis-à-vis pre-pandemic, Ormax says.


“We believe the footfall dip is even sharper (FY23) in 25-30% range versus pre-Covid level, due to content not clicking consistently and only selective large budget/sci fi films doing well. Our initial analysis indicates that Q1FY24 will be a strong quarter and should report strong double-digit YoY growth on a reasonable basis. (Q1FY23 had RRR, KGF 2.0 and Bhool Bhulaiya), backed by many large-scale films across genres, including regional and English,” said Karan Taurani, analyst at Elara Capital.

In contrast, most South languages have either seen stability or growth. Kannada audience grew the most at 25%, from 11.6 million to 14.5 million.

Ormax says that the industry hopes to rebuild lost audiences in 2023. As per latest reports, Shah Rukh Khan starrer ‘Pathaan’ grossed as much as ₹472.95 crore in domestic collections and $115.40 million worldwide as reported by Yash Raj Films on February 13.

Indian box office scripts made over ₹10,637 crore in 2022, only marginally behind ₹10,948 crore made in the pre-pandemic 2019. Thus 2022 became only the second year ever to cross the ₹10,000 crore mark at the India Box Office, Ormax states. Last year, KGF 2, RRR, Brahmastra, Drishyam 2 were some of the movies that made their mark.

Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, Joint MD of PVR told in an interview to Business Today that PVR saw 41 million footfalls during the nine-month period from January 2022, which is 75.6% of its pre-Covid level. He added it will take PVR two to three more quarters to return to pre-pandemic level.

Indian film industry lost 24 million moviegoers to the pandemic: Ormax

Another report of Ormax titled ‘India is Back…At the Theatres’ published on January 27 this year said that the share of Hindi in total India box office fell from 44% to 33% in 2022, as compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic). This was lost to South Indian languages, with Telugu being the biggest gainer, moving up from 13% to 20% share.

Added to that, 32% of Hindi box office receipts came from dubbed versions of South films like KGF: Chapter 2, RRR, Kantara, etc.

Headquartered in Mumbai, Ormax media is one of India’s media analytics and consulting firms that provides strategic solutions for business operations across the Indian media and entertainment sector.

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