Even as Radhe earns over Rs 100 crore on day one from its digital outing, trade analysts say pay-per-view model impractical, given rampant piracy
Salman Khan and Disha Patani in Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai
A Salman Khan release is usually followed by rounds of number-crunching and setting of new box-office records. This time around, as Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai dropped on ZeePlex on May 13, it begged a larger conversation: Will the film pave the way for more pay-per-view offerings?
According to reports, the Prabhudheva-directed venture has earned approximately Rs 108 crore on the first day from its digital outing. Shailesh Kapoor of Ormax Media, which specialises in media research and tracking, breaks it down further. “Our estimates suggest that about eight to 10 million have viewed the film, with four million having watched it on the first day. But to gauge whether the pay-per-view model is sustainable, using Radhe as an example, is premature. The film hasn’t been appreciated. One would expect a film like this to get 30 million lifetime views. Laxmmi  got about 20 million [views]. But that movie had the benefit of being on Disney+Hotstar, whose viewership is four times that of any other platform.”
While poor reviews are customary for a Khan-starrer and have never influenced its box-office figures, the rules are significantly altered in digital entertainment. “Salman’s audience belongs to Tier-2 and 3 towns, which is different from the OTT audience. Reviews matter more in the case of streaming platforms because viewers are mindful of what they are paying for,” adds Kapoor.
Trade analyst and exhibitor Akshaye Rathi states that despite its large viewership, the earnings of the Randeep Hooda and Disha Patani starrer are on the lower side as it has been affected by piracy. “A large number of people downloaded Radhe on Telegram or sourced it from the local piracy shop. The pay-per-view model will not take flight in India because of piracy. The law states that culprits have to serve a sentence of six months or pay a fine of over Rs 3 lakh, but it has never been implemented. It’s lamentable because it is the producers’ loss.” That said, Rathi notes that the OTT platform has struck gold with the actioner. “Those who had Zee5 subscription paid Rs 249, but new members shelled out Rs 499 to watch the film. The real objective of Zee wasn’t to generate revenue, but to increase its subscriber base.”
Zee initiates action against miscreants
Hours after Salman Khan issued a warning on social media for all those watching Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai illegally, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd filed an official complaint at the Cyber Cell pertaining to the film’s piracy. According to an official statement from Zee, a pirated version of the actioner is being circulated across messaging platforms, including WhatsApp and Telegram. It added that officials are actively tracking down phone numbers of the miscreants and will take required legal action. The media conglomerate also appealed to the public to play an active role in putting an end to piracy.