Technology truly knows no bounds. May be the first of its kind, You Tube premiered Bollywood film “Striker”, online, on Friday, February 5. It was released worldwide, except in India, following an agreement with production banner Indian Film Co. in association with affiliated Studio 18 which is a part of a joint venture between Viacom Inc and diversified broadcasting and media group Network 18
This historical milestone marks Bollywood’s first major embrasure of the online medium as a crucial revenue generator. It will also pave the way for other Indian film companies to look outside of a conventional theatrical release towards alternate modes of distribution. By releasing this film on YouTube, Studio 18 will offer Bollywood fans outside of India a high quality and on-demand option for watching the latest Bollywood films. In order to ensure that the revenues from Indian theatrical release are maximized, the movie will not be available for the YouTube traffic originating from India.
Commenting on the release, Google India said, “Our goal at YouTube is to create comprehensive destination for online video with a range of content, from user-generated clips to full-length shows and movies. Hemanth Bhardwaj, SVP-International Business, Studio 18, said “This is a defining moment. The success of this project will put wings to our films, which are rich in content but unable to find optimal distribution abroad because they don’t feature the conventional stars. Recognizing the importance of penetrating into the online space, the producer Sandeep Bhargava intends to offer their forthcoming titles for a YouTube premiere as well.
Films that are high on content but low on star value don’t get to release theatrically in overseas markets. This online premiere will get to reach wider audiences and will help curb piracy, along with being an additional revenue model for the producers. In U.S., Striker will be available for rent on YouTube. Outside U.S., it will be available for free on Studio18’s YouTube channel.