'Striker' gets day and date release on YouTube

Bollywood film available for free or rental outside India

NEW DELHI -- In the first of its deal of its kind, YouTube will premiere Bollywood film “Striker” online (except in India) day and date with its worldwide theatrical release February 5, following an agreement with production banner Indian Film Co. in association with affiliate Studio18.

Directed by Chandan Arora, “Striker” revolves around a young man (played by Siddharth Narayan) who is skilled in the board game of Carrom – loosely based on pool – which sees him hustling his way through the underground Carrom scene.

As part of the agreement, in the U.S., “Striker” will be available for rent on YouTube while for the rest of the world (except India) the film will be available for free on Studio18's YouTube channel.www.youtube.com/studio18

“In order to ensure that the revenues from the Indian theatrical release are maximized, the movie will be not be available for the YouTube traffic originating from India,” Studio18 said in its statement.

Studio 18 is a part Viacom18, a joint venture between Viacom Inc. and diversified broadcasting and media group Network18.

“We are excited about this association as this will help us reach out to our audience in a focused manner and a very cost-effective way,” said Indian Film Co. CEO Sandeep Bhargava.

“Our goal at YouTube is to create a comprehensive destination for online video with a range of content, from user-generated clips to full-length shows and movies. We're particularly excited to have the premiere of 'Striker' on YouTube and available to Bollywood fans around the world," added YouTube head of partnerships Amit Agrawal.

Aiming to tap into other revenue streams beyond traditional outlets -- especially in overseas territories -- Studio18 intend to offer their forthcoming titles for a YouTube premiere as well.

“This is a redefining moment. The success of this project will put wings to our films, which are rich in content but unable to find optimal distribution abroad because they don't feature the conventional stars," Studio18 SVP international business Hemant Bhardwaj said.

The official premiere of a Bollywood movie on YouTube comes just a week after another film “Johnny Tera Kya Hoga” ("What's Going to Happen to You Johnny") was leaked on the video service ahead of its release, fueling concerns about online piracy.
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