Yesterday I saw a post on Twitter which compared profits of Netflix with Indian Hindi Film Industry (“Bollywood”) profits.
NetFlix started the US in 1997 as a “DVD by mail” service (similar to Blockbuster) and soon switched to online streaming of content and video-on-demand. It really picked up in last 8-10 years when broadband connectivity and internet speed increased multi-fold.
NetFlix is a great example of advent of “Digital Media” and how it can disrupt multiple things. In India, Reliance Jio is already creating a bold strategy of owning/controlling every bit of the “Digital” world – right from the backbone network (Jio) to content (Reliance owns TV18 Network which own multiple TV channels and online news etc). NetFlix has started (or popularized) phenomenon of exclusive Web Series; HBO and Amazon are also investing big money in producing exclusive web contents.
All this started with the Youtube phenomenon. When Google bought Youtube for $1 billion many felt that Google had wasted money by hugely overestimating Youtube’s value. But now, $1 billion seems like peanuts considering what Youtube has done to Digital revolution and thus increasing stronghold of Google.
This is somewhat like 1991 in India, when era of satellite TV channels began. Till then we had only Doordarshan – the state-owned TV channel and only fixed hours of show time (not 24×7). Thus, we had only so many hours of contents for viewing and only few could grab a part in those shows – and hence employment in TV industry was limited. Now, the TV industry is a bigger employer than Hindi or all regional movies put together. You have so many channels producing so many TV shows which give opportunities to hundreds of actors, technicians and related jobs.
Youtube (or any Digital Media platform) has shaken up Movie, TV industries in multiple ways. Firstly, even any unknown person can create new content and share with the world and directly compete with the “formal talent”. A great example of this is the dance and singing videos posted on Youtube by the upcoming or novice artists. And this leads to some amazing creative stuff and new ideas. Take example of “Shape of You” – the popular song by Ed Sheeran (age 27!). The official Youtube video of this song has received 3.3 billion hits! But you would be stunned if you check other creative improvisations or versions of this song by novice or lesser known artists. Here are two examples I liked a lot!
First is the Carnatic Mix version of Shape of You – this is the rendition of the song molded in a form of Indian classical music i.e. Carnatic Music (music of South India). They have added some Indian classical notes and created an amazing version. Do check it!
The second video is improvisation of the above Carnatic Mix version by adding Indian classical dance to it. The video is created by the dancing duo – Poonam and Priyanka – who have posted so many dance videos on their Youtube channel. Do check their Indian Classical dance on Shape of You (Carnatic Mix) version.
And the more you dig further the more amazed you would be to see how Youtube is unleashing creativity of people. One new trend I liked a lot and follow regularly on Youtube is the “Reaction” to Bollywood movie songs by foreigners. It is such a delight to see and listen to what the foreigners think about Indian film music, and culture. Here are a few good examples.
You can see that there are many Youtube channels who regularly post “Reaction” videos and have huge fan following.
And then there are some interesting videos which I wouldn’t have been able to watch without Youtube (or such Digital platform). Here are a few:
Aaj Jaane Ki Zidd Na Karo by Tanya Wells (UK)
- R. Rahman, “Jiya Jale” (Dil Se): Berklee Indian Ensemble (Cover)
I think many more new businesses or social enterprises would come up in coming years using the new Digital platforms – particularly in Entertainment industry and that is not a threat but a blessing for the conventional entertainment industry.