The Internet in India is becoming an attractive entertainment medium. A while back, Hindi film Striker premiered on YouTube first. More recently, film producer Shemaroo released its animation film, Super K, on Yahoo! first. Yash Raj Films has premiered its film music releases — for Band Baaja Baaraat, Ladies vs Ricky Behl, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan — on YouTube. Ditto with TSeries that has premiered music launches for Don 2, The Dirty Picture and Rockstar on YouTube’s JukeBox.
Eros Entertainment, YRF, Excel Movies, BIG Pictures, TSeries, UTV Motion Pictures and Dharma Movies also release their movie trailers on YouTube first now. Many studios have started creating pre-release video diaries documenting the making of the movie exclusively for the internet platform and break these campaigns on YouTube. The film Ra.One from Red Chillies Entertainment created a special viral for the Ra.One movie channel on YouTube.
According to YouTube, the Ra.One movie channel got over 10 million views. The Don 2 trailer got over 2,00,000 hits in two days. Agneepath’s trailer saw over 1,00,000 hits in a day. The song promos of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan clocked 50,000-plus hits a day.
Purposes of accessing the internet | India's digital surge
Jay Hind!, the world’s first full format comedy TV series online that has run for just over two years with around 230 episodes, has registered 11 crore views. It is now extending to Canada’s Bollywood Times, a Hindi specialty TV channel owned by FDR Media Group.
Yahoo! India launched Yahoo! Video, a premium video destination for news, entertainment, lifestyle and movies, last month. Offering the content free for now, Yahoo! has partnered with 35 leading content producers including NDTV, Star TV, Shemaroo, Headlines Today, PVR Pictures and Ultra.
Yahoo! Video’s launch seeks to exploit the growing appetite of Indian online users. According to a recent ComScore report, over three crore unique users in India watch online videos each month and, on an average, each user consumes about 58 videos a month.
Smita Maroo, head - animation, Shemaroo, said: “We are releasing our animation films for kids online first. The idea is to get to them wherever they are. Besides, kids like to watch portions of films again and again, which the internet enables.”
Debadutta Upadhyaya, VP (India), Vdopia Media & Software Solutions, said: “Today, 70% of online video inventory comes from entertainment and as per the latest ComScore numbers, of the 1.7 billion video impressions recorded, 70% were from entertainment.”
Siddharth Roy, COO – consumer business, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, called it “on demand entertainment.” He added that this increasing phenomenon is leading to a fundamental change in how entertainment is consumed, in a “lean forward as opposed to a lean back behavior.”
Internet penetration is increasing rapidly in India, broadband is expanding its presence and 3G and the imminent 4G promise to change the internet experience via the mobile platform.
From the kind of initiatives currently happening online — films, TV serials, music, gaming, live sports, all of which are already being consumed on traditional media — online entertainment is set to be big.
Nitin Mathur, senior director - marketing, Yahoo! India, said: “As online entertainment increases, time spent online will go up even as e-mail and information search activities will continue to remain strong. We have seen time spent per user in 2010 go up to two hours a day from one hour or less.”
“The top five TV networks offer catch-up episodes for most of their shows on YouTube. With over 1,500 movies, our film catalogue is one of the most comprehensive and legitimate movie libraries online. We also have over 400 full-length movies in Marathi, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati and Tamil. Plus, we are beginning to see traction with production houses creating original web content for YouTube and growing with us,” said David Macdonald, head of YouTube partner operations.
Will online entertainment with its anytime, anyplace, on-demand convenience affect conventional entertainment delivery media? Farokh Balsara, EMEIA leader, media & entertainment, Ernst & Young India, said, “For the next 5-10 years, online entertainment is not going to eat into the conventional avenues. However, it will significantly increase the market. People are already spending more time online. The same content online will create more avenues for consumption and newer revenue streams.”
Currently, much of the entertainment content online is offered for free, but going forward, it will surely need to be monetised? Balsara said that monetisation would come from advertising and consumers would pay for compelling content. “People are paying for DTH services, aren’t they?”
Online advertising too is gaining importance. Upadhyaya quoted a recent IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) report which said that the Indian online advertising pie has grown to Rs 993 crore in 2010-11 from Rs 785 crore in 2009-2010.
According to an Avendus Capital analysis, growth of online advertising will be driven by video, mobile and social media advertising.
Hungama’s Roy said: “The Internet can give advertisers the advantage of non-linear engagement and conversation with consumers, through extremely focused and relevant brand messages. The same TV ad films can be tweaked with interactive elements”
He added that as online entertainment consumption increases, a more evolved ecosystem will develop. “As the consumer base grows from its current 110-120 million to 300 million in the next three-four years, the ecosystem will evolve. It’s a journey already happening at a fast pace.”