Yahoo India Launches MoviePlex, to Compete with Youtube for free Bollywood Movie Streaming!

Posted: September 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

Bollywood Movies For Free-Sounds like a magic formula, doesn’t it? Add Internet to the mix and one would imagine that the anyone who can package Free Bollywood Movies over the Internet should be able to attract the attention of a fast increasing internet savvy user base in India.

Well, Youtube did it a while back with Youtube Box-office, so there is some validation to the theme. Now, to further the hypothesis, Yahoo India has bit the bullet and has launched a brand new service- MoviePlex.

Movieplex is a platform which will allow users access to licensed full-length Bollywood movies for free on the internet

 yahoo multiplex1 300x160 Yahoo India Launches MoviePlex, to Compete with Youtube for free Bollywood Movie Streaming!

The rationale to launch a service might make sense from Yahoo’s perspective as it is constantly evolving into a media company.

Yahoo India on its part has been aggressively building content partnerships and Movieplex is another attempt at building a rich content repository and ensure user stickiness.

There are those obvious similarities with YouTube’s Box-office and it might be too early to compare the two but there might be a few things Yahoo might have in its favor.

  • The battle will be won to a certain extent based on who is able to acquire more licenses and offer an extensive library of Bollywood movies. Yahoo is known to be the online partner for a lot of Bollywood productions and I am assuming it might help Yahoo to secure new title licenses. I am not aware of YouTube being involved with online partnership/sponsorships with Bollywood projects in the past
  • Yahoo has a slew of other services which can help it monetize Movieplex indirectly. Think Yahoo mail and a lot of content links strewn around the Movieplex page. Youtube Box-office is essentially a video-only page and even though a lot of people know it’s a Google property, there are no links to promote other services. Not sure how much can this help but I am assuming there are significant costs involved in user acquisition for say Yahoo Mail

In terms of the movie experience on Movieplex, the experience is pretty neat and with my broadband connection, the streaming was near perfect even in full screen.

However, in parallel I ran another movie in Youtube Box-office and found the video clarity better. But that could purely be a matter of different titles so it may not be easy to judge and compare the two.

Only time will tell whether Youtube or Yahoo wins the race of acquiring more users to its free Bollywood streaming service but there are significant challenges on both user adoption and monetization front.

As far as bollywood producers go, I wonder if streaming services will give them some respite from the rampant piracy in India and the huge revenue loss from the same.

Even as the broadband speeds have increased in India to allow for streaming services approach to work, the internet broadband caps and Fair Usage Policies makes one wonder if people would be keen enough to watch movies via online streaming. If there aren’t enough takers, no amount of movie titles is going to work.

The other challenge is obviously monetization and there have been lot of discussions centered around the same. As reported by Medianama earlier, cost of streaming a movie online comes around $1-2 which makes it difficult to earn enough profit margins from the service.

Additionally, the entry of another player might take away the buying power from Youtube to a certain extent making the cost equation even tougher for either player.

One might question if Yahoo has enough cash to burn before it sees profits coming out of the Movieplex platform but as far as Yahoo’s focus on content goes, this seems like a prudent move.

What are your thoughts on Yahoo India’s Movieplex? Do you prefer watching movies via online streaming?

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