Shemaroo Entertainment, an Indian movie production and aggregation company, has launched a dedicated channel on YouTube for streaming full length movies for free. More interestingly, the company has released two films – “Dil to Baccha hai ji” and “Aakrosh” on the same day as the DVD release of the film.
Frankly, how much does the DVD release of the film really contribute? Typically a DVD release would not be less than 2-3 weeks after the theatrical release, and the less successful the film the sooner the DVD release. Not sure if this true, but I would venture that a TV release makes more money for producers than a DVD release. In any case, it’s likely that the online release of the film for free viewing would be in such a manner that it does not cannibalize the films primary revenue streams. The other thing is that given how erratic and slow streaming speeds in India are, it is unlikely that people will watch the entire film online. A 30 minute video takes 20-30 minutes to stream and if you get lucky it might come down to 15 minutes (This is when one is using a connection of 512 kbps). Imagine how long one has to wait for a 2 hour movie. If you want to pay for it, you would rather buy the DVD.
What we’re not sure of is whether there is a geo lock. When we tried, some of the films on YouTube movies – like those from Lionsgate Movies were not accessible from India. In the press release, Gautam Anand, Director Content Partnership for Google JAPAC is quoted as saying that “With the launch of Shemaroo movies, users all across the globe will be able to enjoy high quality latest movies absolutely free of cost at their convenience”. So “across the globe” would suggest that there isn’t a geo lock for the films. Let us know if you’re not able to watch the films outside India.
(With inputs from Saptarishi Dutta)