The 80-year-old Amitabh Bachchan, who is known for his acting, has been providing content to consumers on various platforms over the years. While he ruled the single-screen theatres as an ‘Angry Young Man’ in the 1970s and 1980s, his performance continues as a game show host on television now.

Let us look at how he has been performing on the free-to-view YouTube platform.

An analysis of the content on some verified YouTube channels showed the availability of around 70 movies of Bachchan. Though a good amount of Bachchan’s content, including some of his hit movies, is available on unverified channels, businessline did not consider it for this analysis.

Released in 1969, Bachchan’s first movie Saat Hindustani (which is in black-and-white) has recorded more than 3 lakh views since it was uploaded on February 2015.

However, the maximum number of views was recorded by his 1999 movie Sooryavansham. This movie by Bachchan, where he plays a double role, has garnered a maximum of 36.5 crore views since it was uploaded in November 2020. It also topped the list in terms of the number of likes (23 lakh) and comments (40,497).

More than 20 movies — including Chupke Chupke, Satte Pe Satta, Kaalia, Yaarana — have recorded 1-8 crore views on YouTube. Around 40 movies — including Anand, Abhiman, The Great Gambler — have grossed 10-99 lakh views.

Interestingly, pre-2000 content is getting good views on YouTube. Nearly 80 per cent of views and nearly three-fourths of likes and comments have come from movies released before 2000.

With Internet data becoming cheaper post-2016, the pace of supply of Bachchan’s movies on YouTube has also gone up. Nearly 87 per cent of Bachchan’s movies were uploaded on YouTube after 2016.

However, the supply of content on YouTube gained momentum post-Covid. During the four-year period between 2016 and 2019, 45.71 per cent of movies were uploaded on the platform. Over the last two-and-a-half years, YouTube has uploaded nearly 41.43 per cent of movies. The Great Gambler, which was released in 1979, was one of the earliest Bachchan movies to be available on YouTube in 2011.

People wearing protective masks walk past a mural of Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan. REUTERS

People wearing protective masks walk past a mural of Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan. REUTERS

Digital rights

With the OTT (over-the-top) platforms, including YouTube, becoming hungry for content to feed the requirements of viewers, the old movies have a place of their own in this area of content distribution.

Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s “Anand“

Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s “Anand“

Hardly a decade ago, digital rights in the movie industry were unheard of. Now movie-makers think of revenue from digital rights while planning their projects. According to the 2022 EY-FICCI report on the entertainment sector, the value of digital rights of the movies grew ₹4,000 crore in 2021 from ₹1,900 crore in 2019.

In such a situation, it is quite common that old movies of superstars like Amitabh Bachchan are getting crores of views on free-to-view OTT platforms like YouTube.