With a full length Bollywood film leaked on it prior to its release and now Indian Premier League’s cricket tournament set to become the world’s first sporting event to be streamed live on the video-sharing network
, the latter has emerged out of the shadows of being a portal for amateur home videos and promo clips.
On Wednesday, IPL commissioner, Lalit Modi announced that the IPL will be broadcast live on the Internet in every country on a dedicated channel on the website. “All IPL matches will be broadcast free and live in high definition on YouTube. It couldn’t have got bigger than this,” he posted on Twitter. Modi also asked Kolkata IPL team co-owner actor Shah Rukh Khan to spread the word, which he promptly did. “Lalit (Modi) told me to pass on the message... that IPL will now be available live on YouTube. Hope my team does better and u can enjoy our performance,” SRK tweeted.
That’s not all — Modi has added that the IPL will make its 3D debut in select theatres this season, with the final four matches being available in 3D.
On Wednesday, YouTube announced that it will begin testing an online movie rental service to kick off the Sundance Film Festival, held in Utah, US. Back home, Yash Raj Films has its own YouTube channel for its films and TV shows.
Not everyone, however, is sure if YouTube is ready to replace big screen and TV. “Can the Internet match the experience of watching the film in a cinema hall?” asks banker Subir Raina. “IPL online may work for NRIs, but we Indians will always prefer TV,” says BPO employee Vandana Singh.
IPL aside, films being ‘leaked’ on YouTube is the pressing concern for Bollywood. Sudhir Mishra, whose film Tera Kya Hoga Johnny was leaked earlier this week, has appealed to the viewers “not see it”.
Actor Amitabh Bachchan, whose film Paa was also uploaded on the site, calls the practice “appalling.”