Viewership for television channels and OTT platforms might have increased because of the Covid-19 lockdown, but Indians are willing to return to theatres once they reopen – provided safety protocols are in place and ticket prices are not hiked, according to a survey by the media consulting company Ormax Media.

The survey was conducted with a sample of 1,000 regular movie-goers across 58 towns and cities in India. It comprised audiences for Hindi, Tamil and Telugu movies.

The report suggested that even as at-home film consumption rose by around 60%, as many as 82% respondents said they missed going to the theatres “a lot”. Forty-seven per cent said they will wait for two-three weeks before revisiting theatres once restrictions are lifted.

Nine per cent said they would wait for at least a month, because they had grown used to watching films on streaming platforms. As many as 69% said they will visit theatres not just for big-scale movies, but for medium and small productions too.

The major barrier to returning to theatres immediately was safety concerns due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. A majority said that physical distancing and hygiene norms would play a large role in their decision.

While 29% said theatres should offer ticket discounts to encourage movie-goers, around 71% said they would prefer it if ticket prices remained the same and the money was used for safety precautions. These include sanitisation after each show, making alternate seating compulsory, and avoiding cash transactions.

Food and beverage consumption at theatres is likely to reduce, with 48% saying they would consume less than before and 27% saying they would not consume anything at all.

Multiplex chains such as PVR, Inox, Cinepolis and Carnival emerged as the most trusted brands. Only 6% said they trusted single-screen cinemas in their cities to implement adequate safety measures.