The trend that everyone is watching in technology at the moment is the convergence of pay-per-view (PPV) on the Internet and access to the service through blackbox technology on your television. This will almost certainly happen within the next twelve months with remote controls evolving more into mobile phone style technology to transmit script, such as website addresses, to the transceiver, allowing you to sit comfortably in your armchair whilst reading all the latest news – and who knows, perhaps watch movies – from BollySpice, your favourite website.
In the US, Apple is one company exploring this technology, whilst in the UK, both Virgin and the BBC have expressed an interest.
On the Internet, meanwhile, PPV is now well established with companies such as Hulu in the States and BlinkBox in the UK doing good business – although the inconvenience of watching programmes through your computer is still recognised as a barrier to entry. Other companies, such as the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK also allow free downloads of their programmes. YouTube has struggled to develop a strategy in this market, so far limiting itself to free downloads of programmes such as House. However, with estimated losses of $259m this year, it looks like it will be opting soon for a paid download service.
This is where marketing genius Aamir Khan comes into the story. It looks like 3 Idiots is going to pioneer YouTube’s PPV download service worldwide. It should be available for download within twelve weeks of its release in an effort to combat video piracy. “I’m providing this facility for those who can’t see it on big screen and watch pirated movies,” explains producer Vinod Vidhu Chopra, “I just want them to discourage pirated prints. They just need to wait for 12 weeks and after that they can legally download the movie and watch it.”
The potential market for Indian film-makers is huge. Currently, India has only 7 million broadband users but the Confederation of Indian Industry is optimistic that this will jump to at least 500 million users by 2014 as the country is cabled up in what will be India’s fastest-growing industry for the next decade. Easy access to entertainment will help to drive this growth.