At a time when other online movie streaming companies are shying away from publishing their high value content online, moving to a subscription model, YouTube is taking the opposite route – ad supported blockbusters. The Google owned video sharing site has announced the launch of a destination, called YouTube Box Office. The channel will feature a premium film every month, for free for its audience, albeit backed by sponsors. A few points to note:
– Premium at a price: Now, our assumption is that YouTube would have had to pay a premium for the online premiere of this months movie – Band Baaja Baraat, the same way it would have had to, for its earlier experiment with Dabanng.
– Destination: at the time of the Dabanng launch, we had criticized YouTube’s search capabilities, and the lack of availability of a destination. Search is still an issue (albeit improving), but at least there is now a destination. Still, I’m assuming that we’ll get a press release each month about which movie is being premiered, since YouTube will have to create awareness.
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– Region Block: YouTube has said that the channel will be available to all users in India, but there will be an IP block in place for users in other countries. Over the years, because of difficulty in monetization through advertising in India, other sites like Rajshri Media and BigFlix have monetized through advertising on international streaming. In most cases, Indian advertising rates just don’t cut it.
– Advertising deal: We’ve asked YouTube for whether Intel is on board for a month, or whether this is an annual deal. If it’s an annual deal, then it’s probably that YouTube took a punt on Dabanng, and is now building on it. In any case, even for YouTube, it’s a commitment that they’ll get a new movie every month, and keep trying to bring in advertisers for each movie. This will help create advertiser willingness – moving from case study to case study – and trying to build in traction.
In the end, this is primarily about sales. If sales can monetize, the Bollywood content is there. That most people don’t watch the full movie online is almost immaterial, isn’t it?
P.s.: What happened to the Hungama Movies launch? It’s been more than the three weeks they had mentioned at FICCI Frames. Same partners there, as in case of this YouTube deal – Intel and Yash Raj Films.