YouTube popular choice for online movie streaming in India

YouTube popular choice for online movie streaming in India

Summary: Movie distribution houses are opting for YouTube to make content available for online streaming than setting up their own services to avoid costs and hassles of scaling.


The past month saw a pivotal moment in the US when Netflix overtook Comcast in subscriber numbers. The news was followed by a Nielsen report that sales for television sets dropped in the States. The reason for the drop in television set sales and increase in subscribers for an on-demand streaming site is that television shows in the US are readily offered on services like Hulu, Netflix and even on the television networks' websites. In India however, limited episodes of a few TV shows are streamed online legally. Movie production houses and distributors on the other hand are slowly opting to make full length feature films available on the Internet and their choice for distribution seems to be YouTube.

Shemaroo Entertainment, a movie distributor started hosting full length movies on YouTube this week, their catalog includes some box office successes and quite a few old ones. Back in January, 2010 box office hit Dabangg was made available on YouTube with regional restrictions that blocks viewers outside the US from streaming the movie. BIGFlix, the Netflix alternative in India from Reliance BIG Entertainment has DVD rentals and online streaming options but the limited catalog does not make it an exciting service.  Reliance BIG Entertainment interestingly has the same movies on their YouTube channel as well. On its part, YouTube has a section on their website for Indian cinema.

MediNama was able to get specifics on the cost for streaming a movie online which ranges from $1 to $2 per view with profits being questionable given the investments, ad revenues and scaling the service. This makes setting up one's own online streaming service unviable and explains why YouTube is being chosen since it is Google's infrastructure and they manage the scaling. It is not just movies that Google India has going in their favor, India's cricketing body the BCCI chose YouTube to stream the Indian Premier League in most countries excluding the US.

Topic: Social Enterprise

Manan Kakkar

About Manan Kakkar

Telecommunication engineer with a keen interest in end-user technology and a News junkie, I share my thoughts while preparing for my Master's in Information Management.

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  • Sales for television sets dropped

    but is this truelly because of online offereings? I subscribe to the netflix service myself, yet I still watch the shows on a 40" television.
    Many new devices from Blu-Ray players to surround sound systems have Netflix capabilities built into the devices, yet require a television to be able to watch the content.

    Are people really watching this content on small 15 to 17" computer screens?

    Or is the drop more a factor that flat panels televisions are longer lasting, and slightly more expensive?
    Tim Cook
    • RE: YouTube de facto choice for online movie streaming in India

      @Mister Spock valid argument. I think people have big screen desktops and laptops, Netflix works fine on these so they largely don't see the need for a TV set.
      Manan Kakkar
  • Youtube has a problem

    Suppose you make premium video content for your site. On Youtube you can have it shown in your channel only, or youtube + embedded.

    But if you agree to permit embedding, you agree to permit embedding for everyone on every site, no just your own.

    Thus you can never make premium content for youtube to be shown on your site because to do so it would be embedded on every aggregate site too. Which is why premium content avoids youtube.

    IMHO, Youtube needs to look at the problem from the sellers point of view and add enough options to that they can also use the youtube service.