You know we are all hypocrites in many ways. We don’t think of spending some 1000 bucks for a pair of slippers online but a digital film library like that of Netflix which comes at the cost of 500/month is costly to us. We don’t buy stuff from Netflix or for that matter Amazon web-prime, because we have got a superior choice. Sites such as Torrents gives us rich but pirated content for no-price.
So Do you think this is healthy? Now I am talking to aspirants and Filmmakers. You tell me, do you think this is healthy?
My answer: It looks like it is not going to help in the near term, but in the long term, This is definitely healthy for the industry as a whole?
Though piracy is a menace, sites such as Torrents and others made users increase their internet consumption of films
This is a big opportunity for the film fraternity in the long term.
Technology initiated us to consume content for free in the internet. Previously, Theater and (Thirutu) VCD were the options before us. Now it is all online. You can stream things. Because You have the best internet.
Now You have the best forms to consume content online but the only problem, people are not ready to pay for it.
Digital products are always under-valued. No matter how rich your content is, people think twice or thrice to spend their buck on it.
But if you take the history, you might find good news along the way.
Indians were so skeptical about paying online even for physical goods. That is why Flipkart bought the option of Cash-on Delivery. But soon people mindset changed once they got used to paying online. Now it is all PayTm and Bhim. So we have come a long way from paying offline to paying online for Offline goods and now we do most of the transactions online.
So Can we claim that our people are now ready to pay and buy digital content (music, films, etc)
Not yet.. Because
The change should happen from both sides.
The Internet economy is not healthy as you think. The bulk of revenues from advertising goes to major giants such as Facebook and Google. And then the media companies tries to get small shares for them, always intimidating people with advertisements. While the audience skip ad to play content, Companies will always try the other way: Skip content to play ad. Unless, money flows in from the audience, unless people realize the fact of ‘nothing is free’, then we are never going to realize the full value of internet.
The change should happen in the mindset of the audience. The notion of ‘taking things in the internet for granted’ should change. Why it should change? If you are in the receiving end, then it doesn’t seem to be a problem, but you are a filmmaker aspirant and karma might take a toll on you too.
But not everything is wrong with the consumers? If you give them in appropriate price packages, there is a more chance of them accepting it. In the internet society, suitable price packages and personalized solutions will go a long way in creating a standard Internet economy.
I will give an example of a one such solution?
Nitin is a college grad. He is not earning. So 500 bucks for Netflix is quite a costly choice for him. But lets say there is a way, where Netflix charges him a paltry sum of money, say 100 and gives him good amount of hours (not unlimited) to watch films, then he might not think twice to go for it. Still there is an option of Pirating things, but once he gets used to the unique experience of netflix, he might not hesistate to spend bucks on it. But wait Nithin wants more, Netflix has a deal with Paytm. He is getting cash backs on account of his usage. The more he spends online, the internet lures him to spend more. Piracy will still be an easy way out for Nithin. But Nithin understands the implications of Piracy, slowly he realizes that Piracy is a sort of a menace. He believes that Pirating content is no more cool.
A lot of times, piracy happens when there is no choice left. Either the amount to be paid is huge, or one has to go to theatres to watch it. What if the amount is less. What if the amount is well below my propensity to buy, and In return I am getting a privileged experience. I would definitely buy it. Once it becomes an habit, then there is no stopping me from buying again and again. At the same time, Why the hell should I go to watch it in Theatres. Give me another option, where I can be at the comfort of my home and still watch it. websites such as Tamilrockers became popular because of this one little thing.
To conclude you want to get rid of piracy, two things should happen
- The mindset of the people should change. Piracy is not cool. Piracy is not fashion.
- At the same time, The film fraternity should embrace technology. I understand numerous attempts have failed, but the result is inevitable. Unless you create a system, where small budget films have an equal footing with the big budget films, then piracy will always be the winners. Independent films will only win if we encourage video-on demand platforms.
But inevitably it will come down to this. Time will come where the consumer will get more value from bought content against the pirated content. Time will come when low budget films will be made not for theatrical distribution but for video on demand sites such as Netflix. Time will come when the consumers are no more consumers but will act as customer. They won’t mind to pay a few hundred bucks for the unique experience. But mind you, he/she will expect a personalized solution customized to his needs and will expect a superior value from the provider. And the good news, these things will soon happen and is happening. Films like Brahman Naman were distributed only for Netflix consumption.
Just a matter of time, when people will actually pay for your online content.
But remember the karma. Let the change begin from you.