The Raj Ballav Koirala‘s film ‘Raghav’ surprised everybody by releasing it in the internet instead of in theaters like other movies. Every other Nepali movies wait at least a year before releasing in YouTube. In that time they try to make the required profit from theaters and DVD sales. Releasing in YouTube is relatively a new trend and there are some producer still skeptical in releasing their films in internet. When ‘Raghav’ broke the tradition, a lot of Nepali film industry were surprised and some were even scared of the new development.
In response, ‘Raghav’ director Bhupendra Bhattarai wrote a long statement in Facebook (quoted below). The summary of his statement:
- They want to try a different approach in distribution of movies.
- Targeted audience of ‘Raghav’ is not Nepali theater audience but Nepali students in international institutions.
- The film has already recouped the investment and the YouTube version does not earn any revenue.
- Before releasing for free 500 copies of the film were sold.
Read the full statement:
Everyone who are questioning or supporting our decision to put Raghav in YouTube for free, first of all thank you all for your concern. We appreciate all of you who have supported us through out this journey. All media , distributors, exhibitors and our dear audience. We try to make film with sear joy of storytelling but still staying in the boundary created. But that doesn’t mean we cannot try different approach.
One thing we all need to understand is That every movie has its own targeted audience and its own marketing strategy. Raghav is a story that connects to internationally students more , hence our target was international students in Diaspora. We budgeted , marketed and exhibited the movie keeping that in mind. May you call it conservative approach or defensive , we thought this was the best way to move things forward. It doesn’t mean we didn’t wanted our audience in Nepal to watch it. We made every effort to give theatrical experience of Raghav , but it wasn’t possible without bearing big financial loss. Any smart producer would do that and that’s what we did. As we said we wanted everyone to experience it hence we have made it available for free in YouTube.
For all people who think we are making money out of YouTube streaming we are not, we have not monetized it.
Regarding our financial status we have already surpassed our investment with international release. So it is certainly not a bad bet, right?
Plus our movie was up for online rental before we released it on YouTube and had over 500 copies sold.
We did what a smart producer does, for movie with this scale. We certainly took everything in account before we made this decision. Tomorrow when we make a movie in larger scale we will for sure produce, market, exhibit according to necessity way. Its all about film culture we need to to develop and theatrical release is not the only way forward. Take example from west were series are made targeted just Netflex audience or TV audience . we have to understand every movie has its own diameter and its own approach , does not always have to be conventional way, especially when we are targeting new avenue in every front of our society .
We appreciate the decision of the makers of ‘Raghav’ to make it available in YouTube. It is a bold move and a step towards a new future of Nepali film industry. We believe, online distribution and revenue generation has a higher potential than traditional release of films. This also opens a new avenue for the new talent to be creative and reap the benefit of internet.