Mela Becomes the First-Ever Global Online Service to Release New Bollywood Movies Simultaneous to Their Theatrical Releases
SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Mela, a global multi-platform consumer entertainment service with one of the largest aggregations of premium South Asian content, today announced the launch of First Day First Show, an initiative under which it will release new Bollywood movies in international markets simultaneous to their theatrical releases in India. Bollywood movie fans outside of India will now be able to enjoy new movies from the comfort of their living rooms no matter where they are located in the world.
Mela is the first-ever major Bollywood movie service in the world to launch such an initiative. Bollywood is the most prolific movie industry in the world, releasing more than three times as many movies per year as Hollywood, its more popular rival. Despite its global popularity, Hollywood has yet failed to simultaneously release new movies in every country in the world.
Mela is announcing the formal launch of its First Day, First Show initiative with the simultaneous global release of the award-winning and multi-starring Bollywood film Chaurahen. The film will release globally on all Mela platforms – the Mela Bollywood movies channel on Roku, the Mela app on iPad and the Mela High Definition set top box on Friday, March 16. The film is being released the same day in theatres in India by its local distributer, Priya Village Roadshow (PVR).
Chaurahen (Crossroads), a film directed by Rajshree Ojha, who previously directed Aisha, in addition to two other popular specialty projects, boasts an impressive ensemble cast that includes Soha Ali Khan, Victor Banerjee, veteran Bollywood actress Zeenat Aman, and Kiera Chaplin, granddaughter of the silent film superstar Charlie Chaplin. The film is an adaptation of short stories by celebrated author Nirmal Verma. Ojha describes the three vignettes that comprise Chaurahen as “snippets of collected photographs, bringing together similar disconnected people trying to find their path.” Originally completed in 2007, Chaurahen went on to screen at 11 international film festivals before securing theatrical distribution in India by PVR Cinema and global online distribution by Mela.
Chaurahen is not the first Bollywood movie to make its international distribution debut on Mela’s global platform simultaneous to its theatrical release in India. Mela earlier released Puja Jatinder Bedi’s Ghost and Sudish Kamath’s Good Night Good Morning. The performance of these two smaller budget titles convinced Ojha of the effectiveness of Mela’s global distribution platform.
“The quality of the Mela service, engagement of its audience, and the global reach of its platform will appeal to any content owner looking for a highly effective global distribution platform,” expressed Ojha. After an arduous process to seek adequate distribution, she is optimistic that simultaneous worldwide release of the film through Mela will bring her already acclaimed film to an even broader global audience.
Sab Kanaujia, the General Manager of Mela, commented, “Mela is proud to become the first entertainment service to provide Bollywood producers and studios arguably the most effective global distribution platform. Now, quality content can reach its fans immediately, no matter where they are in the world. We are excited to acquire Chaurahen. While we are starting with mid- to smallbudget movies under this initiative, we are confident that over time we will be able to acquire big-budget movies by demonstrating the value of our distribution platform.”
Almost fifty percent of new Bollywood movies released in India every year do not get a simultaneous theatrical release in international markets due to various reasons. Limited number of available screens for releasing niche content and high traditional distribution and marketing cost are the main reasons why many Bollywood movies after releasing in India do not reach their global fans. As a result, rampant piracy has taken root in international markets to meet the growing demand of ardent fans who don’t want to wait until official DVDs are released several weeks or months after a new movie’s theatrical release in India. Additionally, cheap, pirated DVDs, available within days of a movie’s theatrical release in India, have almost killed the home box office market because the price of official DVDs has remained very high comparatively.
Mela has been working with various producers and studios in India to ensure that a wide selection of films can leverage its global distribution platform and provide Mela subscribes a high-quality movie watching experience when the demand is the highest. Content owners will, for the first time, be able to distribute and monetize their content on a worldwide basis from day one. Fans will have a very compelling, legal alternative to enjoy new Bollywood movies in a high quality that was previously unavailable to them.
About Mela: Mela, a division of Verismo Networks Inc, is a multi-platform entertainment service that provides global consumers one of the largest collections of premium South Asian movies, music videos and TV content. Mela offers dozens of live television channels covering news and entertainment, hundreds of Bollywood, South Asian regional and independent movies, with an increasing number of titles in high definition, and selected premium videos from the Internet. Mela’s content partners include India’s leading and most popular film studios and television networks. Mela is available on multiple distribution platforms including Mela’s high definition set-top box, the popular Roku streaming player, and Apple iPad. Mela’s popular Bollywood movie service is available for $4.99 per month for instant, unlimited viewing of over 1,000 hit Bollywood and South Asian regional movies. Mela also offers a bundled package which includes its award winning, high-definition set-top-box with over seventy live television channels and 1,000+ popular movies available on-demand for a promotional price of $149 for one year of service. Mela plans to later roll out its service on other major platforms including PC, tablets, Internet connected televisions, video gaming consoles, phones, Internet connected Blu-ray players, and other over-the-top devices. Mela is owned by Verismo Networks, a Silicon Valley based company that offers business customers worldwide solutions to bring seamless convergence of IPTV linear channels, video-on-demand, Internet videos, social networking and personal media playback directly to consumer’s television. Verismo is backed by Intel Capital. To learn more about Mela, please visit www.mela.com. To learn more about Verismo, please visit www.verismonetworks.com.
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