Keen to Stream – India’s Cinema in the Digital Age

Last week I reflected on India’s digital cinema, in relation to recent lockdowns and my online streaming experience. In terms of Asia in the Digital Age, India’s big step from movie cinemas to laptop/phone screens demonstrates that in order to stay connect you need to connect.

Since the majority of the global population lives in Asia, they will soon become the predominant when it comes to digital systems. This notion could be compared to India’s cinema, as they are the world’s largest producer of films, they could hold the majority in the future when it comes to digital cinema.

The perfect conditions have been created for this transition which includes:

  • Affordable mobile broadband
  • Increase in content consumption
  • High smart-phone penetration
  • Investments in Indian originals
  • 40 over-the-top media services operating in India

“Asia in the digital age” demonstrates that conditions such as these allow people to “gain digital access, exercise digital rights and influence the digital agenda”.

With Amazon Prime and Netflix set to invest $340 million in original Indian content, which is 52% of the total investments in 2021. This economic interest will thrust India’s cinema further into the digital domain. This is also prevalent as in my last blog post I noted that the Indian film industry contributes for more than 50% of the Indian economy. With such economical influence I am immediately struck by the rising power Indian cinema will hold.

By stepping onto the digital stage India is not only opening doors for its country, but for the rest of the world. Our younger generation particularly will often turn to the internet to get a better understanding of the world. Our constant consumption of content helps to shape that view, so having access to original content is essential to ensuring our understanding is current, realistic and true. With the increase of Indian original films being uploaded to streaming sites we can access unappropriated content with the touch of a finger.

India is also aware of this influence, as recently sites such as Amazon Prime were forced to issue an apology for content that “hurt religious sentiment“. A digital foot print is one thing, but a digital stampede is another. With the rest of the internet watching across the globe, proper representation is essential. Religion has an incredible influence on Indian society, which is a rich culture that needs to be displayed to the rest of the world. Film is a great medium to present it, and streaming is great way to share it.

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