Most Malayalam film producers are not Internet savy. When movie piracy happens and illegal copies are available in Bit Torrent sites, they are clueless and don’t know what to do. While they go after video shops in Kerala which sell pirated copies, there is nothing they can do to prevent Internet downloads.
Hollywood too has grappled with this problem and the solution they came up was to release the movies on DVD as soon as possible, the theory being that people would pay to watch movies with all the visual and sound effects on the original medium than the one available on a camera print. Then to give more value to the home viewer, they add extras like deleted scenes, interviews with the writers and actors, bloopers, as well as behind the scenes clips. Some movies even have alternate endings which adds value to the DVD.
Mohanlal’s Keerthichakra and the Tamil version Aran came to theaters around the same time. Aran is available on DVD, while Keerthichakra is not. The producers are forgetting one aspect that most Malayalees don’t live in Kerala (Of course, we are exaggerating, but you get the point) and they are as crazy about Malayalam movies as people who live in the state. By the timely release of DVDs, some revenues can be obtained from this market. Commonsense dictates that the black market exists because there is an excessive demand which is not met by supply. While Hollywood has progressed to an era of instant downloads, we should evolve from swinging from the branches to walking on the ground.
In a previous article we advocated releasing the DVDs with subtitles in various languages to tap into an even wider audience. Along with that the packaging of the DVDs should be done in the most attractive way to get the consumer to buy them, rather than rent them. If you look at the DVDs of Dhoom 2 or Fanaa, you will find glossy pictures from the movie inside the box along with an extra DVD with additional features. Imagine, if the producer of Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha released the movie in a box, with a booklet with a story synopsis in various languages, glossy pictures, an audio CD with lyrics and a discount coupon for the script of the movie, how well it would sell.
Malayalees exist all around the world, thanks to the globalization of labor. Exploiting the forces of globalization of the market, Malayalam movie makers can reach a wider audience.