LONDON — YouTube India will offer Bollywood blockbusters free to Indian consumers, it announced Tuesday.
Though older Indian films are already available on the site, the new YouTube Box Office channel will show a recently released premium film every month. The channel will be available only to Indian users and will be IP blocked in other countries.
Yash Raj Films’ hit “Band Baaja Baaraat” will be the first to air on the channel, which will have more than 1,500 films to choose from. The films will have ads embedded in them and YouTube will share this revenue with content partners like Yash Raj. YouTube hopes this will help stem rampant piracy in the region.
Pravesh Sippy, head of production and distribution company NN Sippy Films told Variety: “It’s a good thing because, if timed correctly, it can cut piracy. Eventually if they (YouTube) take our Bollywood films to a wider worldwide audience than we currently reach, it will be great for the industry as a whole.”
Yash Raj’s general manager for digital and new media, Anand Gurnani, said: “Apart from offering tremendous reach, evolved digital platforms like YouTube also enable the monetization aspect through advertising revenues in an unobtrusive manner, while offering a great online viewing experience to the users. We are sure this project will throw up interesting insights and consumption patterns of the digital-friendly audience.”
Gautam Anand, director, content partnerships, YouTube Japan-APAC, said: “We wish to create a destination for users that is easily discoverable, and also helps our content partners get more viewers for their premium content. With over 48 hours of content being uploaded on YouTube every minute, this is our attempt to curate premium and exclusive content, which our users enjoy.”