Scattershot Streaming Update: India Has Better Stuff Than Us

I’m strongly tempted to investigate VPNs again. I’m not gonna do it for Zee5 because they suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck, but now I want it for Netflix India and HotStar India.

Random interesting thing I learned a while back but haven’t had a reason to share, Disney Plus and Hotstar Streaming are the SAME THING in India! Which answers the question I have had for a while, Hotstar had this massive library and massive market share in India, then was bought buy Disney and kind of turned stagnant, didn’t seem to be getting a lot of new movies or anything, while Prime was building up their library like crazy and Netflix was making prestige dramas.

But, ta-da! It was because Disney was planning to combine Hotstar with their new Disney Plus platform. I should have known better, the House of Mouse always has a plan. Now, in India, if you turn on your HotStar to watch that classic Mohanlal movie you can’t see anywhere else, here are all these ads for Disney Channel India shows, and Disney movies dubbed in Indian languages, and maybe you should try those out, and then 5 years later Disney owns India.

Disney debuts its streaming service in India for $20 a year ...

My first thought was that they were just going to let the Hotstar platform slowly wither, but it is far more intelligent to merge with it and suck it’s strength.

Other streaming news, Love Aaj Kal 2020 is now in Netflix India. But not Netflix anywhere else (that I can see), or einthusan. Also, my views for my review have leaped up and I am seeing a lot of news stories about it hitting Netflix India.

Love Aaj Kal will stream on Netflix & Jio Cinema from 27thApril ...

Which brings me to Zero! Remember how it flopped horribly in theaters and everyone was like “the public is too discriminating, they don’t like these movies any more, make good movies people want to see and they will come to theaters” and so on? Well, the day it released streaming in India, it broke all records, most popular movie of the year, far more so than any Hollywood release or anything that did better in theaters.

There’s an argument of “These kinds of movies are Bad and no one likes them and that’s why they do poorly in theaters”, which I think should more accurately be “these kinds of movies rely on word of mouth, and on an audience that cannot easily get out of the house to theaters (women), so they do poorly in theaters but do PHENOMENAL on streaming”.

Follow up argument is usually “thank goodness for streaming so women can see movies”, to which I say “no, curses on streaming because before that women were seeing movies in theaters, it is only the availability of streaming and satellite TV which is driving them more and more into their houses”.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to talk about, Love Aaj Kal 2020 which was ridiculed by all when in theaters is now doing super well and getting a lot of buzz on streaming. But the initial ridicule was still damaging enough for no one to be interested in buying the international rights, hopefully the Indian success will lead Netflix to buy the European and American rights too so you all can watch it.

And Disney is, as always, smarter than I give them credit for.

15 thoughts on “Scattershot Streaming Update: India Has Better Stuff Than Us

  1. This is something I think about a lot but never thought of the super brilliant angle that STREAMING IS KILLING FILM AS DEFINED BY BOX OFFICE! It’s like you hit me with a bolt of lightning. It seems to me that over time the metrics have to be changed to encompass this change in viewing patterns, which is a global phenomenon. Maybe the current sitch will help as some films go direct to streaming? But can’t account for word of mouth when films start in theaters. You freaking blew my mind.

    On another note are you saying that with a VPN I can finally see Lion King with the Hindi dubbing because I have flatly refused to see it any other way. For Hindi-focused streaming I currently have Eros/Amazon and ALTBalaji and HotStar US but have not found a way to hear the soothing melodious voice of SRK as Mufasa. All I get is previews on YouTube with Aryan saying “Main hoon Simba, Mufasa ka beta.” Which is nice but not enough.

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    • YES! Especially because streaming is hitting different audience segments in a different way and at a different pace. So isolating it particularly to Indian film, woman have essentially disappeared from box office figures within India and reappeared in streaming figures. Thus the steep fall of romance films and Shahrukh Khan films and other traditionally female aimed entertainment. But the audience is still there! It’s not being eaten away by satellite TV or whatever, or hating on those genres, it’s just watching movies from home instead. And the same in America, only in America it’s the younger generation that has essentially abandoned theaters, the people who have less disposable income and more internet access/familiarity. The films that are making money are family movies, or movies for old people who don’t know The Internet.

      The problem being of course that the economics are still too slanted towards box office. The industry relies on that money to function, so streaming has to become way WAY more profitable if it is going to continue having movies to feed in to it. Which is my issue with streaming, you’ve got companies like Amazon and Netflix who are getting massive views from the mainstream films they purchase, without producing those films. Dharma and YRF and everyone still puts up the money to make the things, deals with potentially massive losses at the box office, and then the whole theatrical release turns into a free publicity campaign for Netflixes newly purchases film.

      And yes, we should all get VPNs so we can watch Disney Plus Hotstar. Also, “Disney Plus Hotstar” just sounds so much more logical, doesn’t it? Like it’s an equation “disney + hotstar”, instead of the American version where it is just Disney + ????

      On Sun, Apr 26, 2020 at 6:12 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • This is what I dislike about it, because there are no streaming options for independent film (I know there are some in the US and UK, but the rest of the world has 0). and while it offers space for truly groundbreaking things and less to no censorship! amazingly in India (for Europe I find it very sanitised, movie theatres here seem to be for intellectuals and families now while streaming is for the general audience), I really dislike the way progressive content is all on streaming now in India and the theatre films are all conservative rubbish. We don’t need even MORE polarisation.

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        • And this brings us back to the same thing you and I have bemoaned together before, the assumption that in the past mainstream movies were more conservative. they weren’t, because there was no segregation. You wouldn’t save your wild stuff for streaming or multiplex viewers or whatever, it would be right there in the mainstream things. Which reminds me, I need to review the insane movie I watched with Dina on Friday. In a previous life, you were Raajkumar’s costume designer for this:

          On Mon, Apr 27, 2020 at 6:50 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • That’s a good point about the old movies.

            I love Raaj Kumar, and would have loved to be his wardrobe mistress. That velveteen scarf-blouse (??) is faaaabulous.

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          • Raaj Kumar is the best. He spends half this movie in full priest saffron robes and turban and mala, and half the movie in the most 80s disco garb possible, and it’s hard to say which he carries off better.

            On Mon, Apr 27, 2020 at 9:52 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • No, he will not. Because they still lost gobs of money and other people lost gobs of money. The market is upside down! 90% of the money is coming from a place that only reaches 10% of the audience, and 10% is coming from 90! Or something like that, you get the idea.

      On Sun, Apr 26, 2020 at 7:13 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • YAAAAAAY!!!! And now everyone will watch it, and finally read my very long review, and I will lots and lots of comments. It’s all I want! I found that movie so interesting and NO ONE WILL TALK ABOUT IT WITH ME!!!!!

      On Sun, Apr 26, 2020 at 11:37 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I was using a VPN to access HotStar India but then Hotstar India began to be able to detect that I was using a VPN, like Amazon Prime can, and I had difficulty watching the content. Anyway, I changed my VPN provider and got a dedicated VPN address in UK so now I watch Hotstar UK, BBC and ITV. It’s something to bear in mind – the streaming services are looking out for VPNs where a number of users are bouncing off the same servers.

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  3. Love Aaj Kal is an interesting movie. People hated it from the first trailer, then it had terrible reviews and flopped. But now I see a lot of people impatiently waiting for it to appear in streaming.
    I follow a few accounts about OTT releases on twitter and see plenty of tweets asking about LAK, just like they ask about the biggest releases.

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    • Again, it’s the disconnect! The people who watch the trailer and read the reviews are a tiny tiny part of the world. The rest of the world vaguely is aware of it but is never going to watch it until it hits streaming. Also, the trailer watchers are Bullies! We all know this, they are the ones on social media who will go after you if you disagree with them. No one is going to say “oh hey, I thought it looked fun” when they will just get yelled at. But now, luckily, the trailer watchers have faded away to bully people about something else, so the regular people can say “oh boy, I kind of wanted to watch that.”

      On Mon, Apr 27, 2020 at 3:13 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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