Days after the arrest of three youngsters by Kerala police for allegedly uploading a copy of the newly-released Malayalam movie Premam on the net, comes a welcome step that will go a long way in curtailing piracy and yet be a boom to movie lovers.
A group of film buffs has come up with an online site which will enable people to watch the latest Malayalam movies on the digital platform legally at a download cost of Rs 180 for an ordinary print and Rs 300 for a high definition print.
Reelmonk.com, created by Xincoz Labs, is the brainchild of three 22-year-olds from Kochi -- Blaise Crowly, Vivek Paul and Gautham Vyas -- and is promoted by Konglo Ventures. It aims to bring Malayalam cinema to its users' homes the same day the film releases in India.
"We are set to launch on July 20 with 15 movies for users to download including Nee-Na by Lal Jose and Njan Steve Lopez by Rajeev Ravi. An idea that originated over a midnight phone call with a friend is today ready to launch after a long and exciting journey that was full of challenges, setbacks, straight-out crashes and amazing moments to cherish", said Crowly, CEO, Reelmonk.com.
"Piracy happens due to non-availability of content. When content is easy to access at a reasonable price, we believe piracy will take a back seat," he added.
Paul, COO, Reelmonk.com, shared that a lot of effort and sacrifice goes into creating a movie and it is "shattering when elements such as piracy, lack of releasing platforms and other issues destroy this work".
"We want to be a platform where all movies can reach viewers with the click of a button. With connected users, our platform enables movie producers to distribute their content in any country they choose on the same day as they release in India," he added.
Paul also said that they have a revenue-sharing model with the producers and it is worked out on a 70:30 sharing basis.
"Through the dashboard on the page, the producer can find out on a daily basis how many people have downloaded the film. Once it's downloaded into a computer hard-disk, it can be seen any number of times, but cannot be copied to a pen drive. Even if one lakh people download a film, the producer gets a decent sum, which probably he would not have got otherwise," said Paul.
The Kerala diaspora is said to be close to 2.5 million and living mostly in the Middle East and Jose, who is releasing Nee-Na through Reelmonk.com in the US, Saudi Arabia and other select countries, shared that during his European tour, he met many Malayalis who complained about their inability to watch new Malayalam movies as and when they are released in India.
"They also shared that they were forced to watch pirated versions for want of an option to watch them legally," he added.
Noted director Jayaraj believes that Reelmonk.com will give people "the opportunity to easily access Malayalam movies that they love, especially with features like pay-per-download".