MoovieShoovie: Watch original cinema online
The Internet has emerged as a hotspot for delivering videos. However watching quality videos (especially movies) which is not a pirated version is still a problem to be solved. Bangalore based startup MoovieShoovie is trying to address this problem by making Indian movies available online. Jo Pattabiraman, Founder and CEO of MoovieShoovie shares more insights with MyBangalore.
How did the idea of MoovieShoovie emerge? Can you provide some details about this online service?
I lived in the U.S. for ten years, during which period I found it very hard to get Indian movies. Most Desis have to drive about 20 minutes to get a movie from their neighborhood Indian grocer. More often than not, the movie you wanted would be out, scratched or otherwise unappealing. And the worst part is that you have to drive 20 minutes to return the scratched, pirated DVD, and pay for the privilege on top of that. Having worked for large internet companies like eBay and Yahoo, I know that the internet is a much more efficient distribution medium; one that can provide instant gratification at a low price. iTunes and Netflix are some of the companies that serve the Hollywood niche, but there isn't a similar high-quality, low-cost alternative for Indian cinema.
MoovieShoovie aims to make to make great Indian cinema available to the worldwide audience via the internet. Users can rent online movies, which they can watch any number of time times for 3 weeks. All our movies are subtitled, near DVD quality and above all, safe and legal. It's perfect for the times when you can't go out to the DVD store or to the theater, but have some free time and a couple of dollars; and total paisa vasool if you are a cinephile .
What type of movies you are hosting as a part of this service?
We have family-friendly, high-quality cinema that strikes a chord with the audience, films that people have an emotional bonds with, such as Chupke Chupke, Golmaal and Anand. We also have many of the films that are ranked among the top ten films of all time, like Deewar, Pakeezah, Namal Hallal, Koshish and so forth; films made by directors like Yash Chopra, Vijay Anand and Ram Gopal Varma, starring actors such as Kamal Hassan, Abhay Deol, Jaya Bhaduri, Dilip Kumar and Sanjeev Kumar.
We want to expand our content selection to include high-quality cinema in Kannada, Tamil and Bengali, among other languages and are talking to several content owners in this regard.
Currently you are offering this service only for viewers outside India. What’s the reason behind this?
That's actually just the market niche we began with, but in the long term we want to serve the Indian audience as well. Our rational behind serving the international market is the following.
Indian movie content is readily available in India, and as such, the service we are offering is not valuable to viewers in India. That said, a lot of people like to watch our trailers and songs because they are so awesome - we are planning to introduce a new service called ‘Masalamix’ that will allow our Indian audiences to also enjoy our content.
Broadband cinema penetration is not high, so the number of people who can enjoy our service is kind of low, and the cost to serve Indian users is high. But that said, it is rapidly improving and we think that within 12 months, this scenario will change.
Another artifact is the way rights are sold. The overseas rights are sold as a block, whereas Indian rights are often fragmented. This might, in the end, be the only long-standing reason that we can't provide the service in India.
How do you see the response for watching movie online? With known bottlenecks the Internet has (bandwidth issues) how well the content is delivered in a seamless manner?
The response for watching movies online is high. 74% of the U.S. online population watches internet video, an average of 5 hrs a month. These are huge numbers, and can only get larger as bandwidth connection issues are solved worldwide.
From our side, as long as you have a bandwidth of 1Mbps or more, you can enjoy the service uninterruptedly. Our US audience has an average bandwidth speed of 2.2 Mbps and report uninterrupted streaming. What we think of as online is going to soon be the dominant mode of viewing content, and the only access points that will change will be the devices used to view them - laptops, but also phones and set-top boxes.
How do you view the domestic Indian market with the niche focus as yours? Especially given the fact that piracy is omnipresent?
The domestic market is promising, but not with the same content selection strategy. We would rather approach the domestic market with foreign language films, the mirror image of what we do now. I can definitely see the domestic market responding to classic Hollywood, French and Spanish movies.
As for piracy, it's always going to be there. Our purpose is to provide a low-cost, high-quality, safe and legal alternative so that people don't always have to go to pirate sites - our research shows that people are willing to switch to a pay site as long as it provides value. In some ways, what we offer as opposed to pirated sites is the difference between a branded product and a commodity product, between Coca-cola and nameless colored water.
What are the services you are planning to offer in the future?
We want to reach people where they already hang out - on Facebook, their iPhone and their TVs . We want to add to our content library and increase the options that people have for enjoying our content. We want to create a thriving community where people can enjoy discussing movies they are passionate about.
We also plan to provide a marketplace through which people can purchase DVDs, as well as T-shirts, posters and other memorabilia. The opportunities to delight users are huge.
Can you please provide some details about your business model?
We have three streams of revenue: paid content, advertising and affiliate goods; and each of them serve a different need and audience around the core idea of Bollywood. Our model is also extensible since the same can be applied to other languages with large libraries of cinema, such as Spanish , English and French.
Our medium term plan is to be the largest Indian cinema site serving global audiences, and eventually *the* destination site for films.
How about your team structure and funding model?
Team: Right now we have 2 FT and 2 PT people - all of us have graduate degrees and we all love movies. We're looking for two more people, to fill the roles of external communications and business development. We also are constantly looking for talent, so if people are interested in our company, they should reach out to us so that we can form a connection.
Funding: We are self-funded right now, but are working on closing an angel round; and potentially a subsequent larger institutional round.
To check out the space log onto http://moovieshoovie.com/