Being in India and wanting to watch content produced in Hollywood was a big deal a decade back.It would take ages for critically acclaimed movies to be ever released in India.But now market is now ripe and a lot of Hollywood movies are now getting released in India as part of world-wide release.
Thanks to growth of multiplex and audience preference to watch some thing different from local regional content,Hollywood movies especially the big budget sequels and action movies enjoy a lot of popularity.
Distributing content in India – English Movies vs English Shows
The popularity of Hollywood movie is at an all time high.But the same cannot be said of English content in Indian TV.It does not stop with Hollywood but with content produced in any part of the world.If you are an avid visitor of IMDB and check the top rated TV shows for the year,most of them would never had premiered in Indian television.
The critically acclaimed ‘Sherlock’ that won rave reviews was not telecast in BBC Entertainment in India immediately. A lot of people watched it online and few others downloaded through Torrent.By the time the show was telecast,only a very small percentage of the population who watch English content but not aware about the award-winning series watched it. Rest all watched it long before.
Same is the case with ‘Dexter’.In India,it was playing the previous season. While in the US ,next seasons’ finale was aired ,thanks to social networking and friends in other parts of the world,you get to know many spoilers and can’t afford to wait any longer to see them.
General Entertainment Channels like Star World and Zee Cafe take their real own sweet time to pick up tv shows that they feel suits the audience taste , strike deals with content distributors and then telecast it over here. It is a complex process where in content producers do not allow these shows to be telecast in developing countries the same time it is shown on American TV mostly due to high cost associated with licensing.
What this means is that people who are fans of the show will not wait but go search online for the tv show.The longer people wait to watch a tv show,the story and plot gets everything is revealed through various sources thereby ruining the whole watching experience.
Also in developing countries like India, there is no Amazon or Netflix or any other online streaming service where you can watch these content at an affordable price.So what this means is that people are pushed to watch pirated content online or download illegally via the torrent.
Need for Unified Simplified License for Digital Distribution
This whole problem now reminds of how the music piracy have become rampant. If not for iTunes , the piracy would have been more severe now. And television content is also facing the same fate now because of the complexities in licensing content across boundaries.
So what is the need for hour is a simple licensing deal based upon on geographies’ potential revenue it can generate so that the content is distributed quickly there by preventing piracy.People may argue that English TV shows are not popular in India. This is exactly the same reason given by distributors for not releasing Hollywood movies and they are proved wrong now.
In the age of digital revolution, consumers do not wait.Impatience is their new life.And they do not let TV channels define their taste and wait for indefinite long time .
Hence it is necessary for single, unified, across the boundaries digital content distribution deals that could help in reaching to more people easily,quickly and prevent online privacy.One thing that needs to be taken care of is the censor certification and editing the content based on local law. This could be bit complex but worth the effort to woo the consumers.
European Union Digital Agenda
Currently European Union is devising policy to share content between euro countries freely without any of the current complexities involved in distribution. This is a welcome step but there is not much progress that is happening because most of the countries in EU is most interested in watching English content and not content from other countries in EU.
But i hope the policy is progressed over smoothly and ensure the distribution is easy and be a win-win for both consumers and content creators and distributors as well.This will set the precedence for rest of world to follow.
Bringing Online Streaming Services to many countries
Similar condition exists for the online streaming services – the more time it takes for Amazon and other big content producers to bring legitimate services , piracy will take a good lead.
And remember , once people are used to watching content online for free , it becomes the order of day and it is hard to get people to buy or subscribe to digital content.
Music CD’s when introduced costed a lot and profit margins were pretty huge.It was not possible for every people to buy them. Had they reduced the price to make it more affordable , people would have still bought legitimate music.
But content producers and music labels missed the digital boat and facing the problem of piracy big time. It’s irony now music content are sold digitally at cheap affordable prices now but nobody gives a damn because people having ventured into the habit of pirated content now for a long time.
So it’s high time to make it easy for consumers , the content producers and distributors work together and bring an effective solution to this problem else get bowed down to piracy.
On the same note,you may also be interested in reading about possibilities of online media streaming coming to India.