Online film distribution catching up fast

| Updated on: Apr 19, 2012

Just a week after Salman Khan's Bodyguard was released, pirated versions of the film and its songs were uploaded on to various online portals. One of the portals, which runs a background software that checks for piracy, even alerted the producer to the large-scale illegal copying.

Simply put, it just goes to show the popularity of film-based content on the Web.

Not everything that is up there is pirated though. Two online players, YouTube and Yahoo, alone have a library of over 6,000 Indian films – all chosen after proper agreements with the IP holders. Mobile manufacturer Samsung too allows its smart-phone users to download from over 600 movies for free in India.

The result: Film producers are making money.

Big names such as Rajshri, Yash Raj Films, Eros, Tips, Venus and Reliance Pictures have begun to use YouTube as an important avenue for film distribution. Video major Shemaroo alone has 35 channels on this video-sharing window of Google.

Film actor, Mr Akkineni Nagarjuna sees both a threat and an opportunity with this model. “It impacts revenue when pirated stuff is put online, but adds to the kitty when offered through authentic sources,” he says. Mr Nagarjuna, the Managing Director of Annapurna Studios, has a library of 40 films produced by the Akkinenis over the last 40 years.

“We have a library of 3,000 Indian movies, including 700 in regional languages. We offer movie producers two options — rentals or pay per stream (only available in the US, Japan and France) and the other is advertising supported,” Mr Praveen Sharma, Head of Media Sales (Google India), said.

“The majority of ad revenue would go to content producers. In India, all these movies are available for free viewing to the users and are ad supported,” he said. Sensing the huge opportunity, advertisers have begun to approach video-sharing firms.

It is estimated that about 70 per cent of the 12 crore internet users in India watch some or the other form of video.


Published on November 15, 2017

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