Online innovations can reduce film piracy


22 Mar 2011
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MUMBAI: If piracy is the biggest impediment in distributing Indian movies internationally, online innovations could be very effective in dealing with the problem, emphasised Google Japan and Asia Pacific media and platform head Shailesh Rao.

Speaking at the Ficci-Frames summit, Rao said: “When an Indian movie is released in the US, it is not available in every major metropolitan city. If the South Asian population wants to watch the movie, they have to go to a local shop to buy a DVD, which is in most of the cases pirated, or the ask someone from India to send a copy over.” Rao cited the example of Dabangg that was released on Youtube along with its television release, as one of the most effective ways to deal with this problem. Adding to which he said, the other ways to distribute movies on the net would include tools like pay-per-click for those seeking it, which would generate fair amount of revenue.

UTV Motion Pictures CEO Siddharth Roy Kapur said that in the current times of social networking, the best way to promote a movie would be through word of mouth publicity and very effective Public Relations activities.

The second most talked about topic was low-budget movies. Film producer from UK Michael E Ward said, “No One Killed Jessica made half a million dollars in the US, which would have been unthinkable some years back.”

Amplifying the importance of Indian movies abroad, he said Rajneeti made $1 million in the US.

Kapur added, “The South Asian movie is the biggest after the local British movies—and its very important to make sure that this market is tapped into.”

The panel agreed that low-budget movies are not taken seriously by major distributors.

Kapur clarified, “It might be unaffordable for an Indian living in the US to watch every Indian movie release, and so he would choose to watch a film that gives him a complete Indian experience—which would mean a movie with major stars and all the masala that a usual Hindi movie offers.”

On being questioned about Google’s indifference towards various websites that distribute illegal content on the net, Rao said: “Google is merely a channel that gives content to those seeking it, if one has objections against any specific site, on grounds of copyright infringement, they can always notify us.” On the role of various researches in making movies and distributing it, Kapur said: “Research plays an important role when it comes to distributing the movie and marketing it; they shouldn’t, however, be contributing to the creation of movies. The concept of the movie or a serial is mostly driven by gut and not through any research. An audience might like something after they watch it and would have never imagined about it. Albeit when it comes to marketing and distributing the content, researches can be used strategically.”

On this Rao made a point that trailers released on YouTube create a lot of curiosity.

In India, broadband speeds are a major roadblock towards legal digitisation of movies, the panel concluded
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