Plagued by offline piracy and online illegal downloads, Bollywood production houses have decided to hit back by tapping the potential of the Internet not just to make things legal but also as a new distribution tool for their movies.
Two of Bollywood’s largest production houses, Suraj Barjatya’s Rajshri Media and Yash Chopra’s Yash Raj Films, have announced the launch of online music and movie downloads and online DVD stores on the same day – November 9.
Rajshri Media has taken a big leap forward by deciding to release its latest offering, ‘Vivah’, starring Shahid Kapur and Amrita Rao, on its new broadband website, www.rajshri.com, simultaneously with its theatrical release on November 10. This is a first for the Indian film industry. Mostly targeted at the NRI community, the movie will be available for download from 12 noon on November 10 for just $9.99.
What’s more, cine lovers can view entire movies free on the website. www.rajshri.com has added more than 300 new and classic movies to its achieve, which can be viewed free through streaming service. One has to pay only if he wants to download the movie. One can also rank, comment and recommend the various content available on the site.
It has also added top TV shows, a wide variety of music videos, short films and documentaries for free viewing on its website. Rajshri Media is also planning to add astrology, humour, recipes, yoga, management and spirituality to its website.
“This is the first experimentation of its kind in the world. Through this, we are aiming to legalise illegal downloads over the Net. We are also offering multiple versions of the movie ‘Vivah’, like English subtitles and the Telugu-dubbed version ‘Parinayam’. This is the beginning of a new era in film distribution in Bollywood,” said Rajjat A Barjatya, MD, Rajshri Media Ltd.
To support the free content on the web, Rajshri Media would be putting both video ads and banner ads on its website and in between its content, Barjatya informed.
Meanwhile, the revamped website of Yash Raj Films, www.yashrajfilms.com, was launched by Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, in Mumbai, who was in India to kick off IndiMIX ’06, Microsoft’s seminal ‘web event of the year’.
“The Yash Raj Films website has been popular across the globe. The revamped site opens the way for the discerning Indian viewer to purchase the best of Yash Raj Films’ content without stepping out of their homes. We also believe that the new website will enable us to remain in close touch with consumer expectations and we shall continue to adapt to the latest technologies to offer our consumers the best entertainment experience possible,” Yash Chopra said.
Yash Raj Films also released the songs of its eagerly anticipated movie ‘Dhoom:2’ on iTunes on the day of the launch of its store. The audio content of all Yash Raj Films archive catalogue titles would soon be available for digital downloads on iTunes and other leading digital platforms of the world.
However, there is a catch, the Microsoft powered Digital Rights Management (DRM) system won’t allow you to copy the downloaded movie on to any DVD. It will only get stored in your computer’s hard drive and will expire after 72 hours. Both Yash Raj Films and Rajshri Media have ensured this on their websites.