Friday, March 16, 2007
Now, entrepreneurs in Mumbai, New Dehli, and Bangalore are trying to change use online TV distribution techniques to create a more profitable situation for Bollywood while providing easier access to movies for the Indian public. Once company in particular has already made movies available for download from the Internet for a fee of about five dollars (in US currency). Other companies are trying to obtain content rights to download movies made by several studios. Such online movie distribution schemes met with a fair amount of success with the simultaneous release of a movie both online and in theaters. Presumably the promotional efforts of the online release and the theater release reinforced each other, resulting in more people seeing the movie between the two forms of distribution than would have seen it with either type of release alone.
Other companies are focusing on putting officially licensed movies on DVD and selling them for about a dollar a piece. This move would undercut the shops that are selling pirated discs for between five and ten dollars a piece and renting them for about the same price that the licensed copies sell. This move would put the admittedly modest profits in the pockets of legitimate businesses and provide Indian movie fans with higher quality copies of the movies they love.
Of course all of this does beg the question of whether or not these businesses will be able to make enough of a profit to make their efforts worthwhile. This is a legitimate concern, considering that India still has a relatively low per capita income. After all, one has to wonder how many households will have the equipment and the Internet connections to download full length movies from the Internet and then take advantage of them once they have been downloaded. Even having the requisite DVD player and television set for playing DVD's might be a tall order for some households.
While these are concerns, there are also several other factors to consider when trying to predict the success of these enterprises. The first is that the Indian economy is rapidly expanding and that many people in India are rising up into the middle class along with that expansion. The other thing to consider is that there are over one billion people in India. Both of those factors mean that entrepreneurs that are investing in Bollywood and newer video technology, are probably making a wise move.