YouTube, Intel Team to Offer Free Blockbuster Indian Movies

YouTube has introduced a new channel in India that offers blockbuster Indian movies for free to viewers, and landed Intel as a major sponsor.

The Google subsidiary has tied up with Intel to sponsor the movies on its new YouTube Box Office channel in return for advertising on the site and video advertisements during movies.

Intel did disclose how much it was paying to sponsor the channel. The chip maker is promoting its second-generation Core i3, i5, and i7 processors on the channel under an agreement that will last three months but can be renewed.

Viewers outside India are prevented from watching the movies through IP (Internet protocol) address blocking at the request of content providers, a Google spokesman said on Wednesday.

The channel, which will offer one blockbuster movie every month, also has a catalog of some 1,500 other Indian movies, to which YouTube is adding more titles. Viewers can choose to watch movies at resolutions ranging from 260p to high-definition (HD) 1080p, depending on the amount of Internet bandwidth they have available.

India's Hindi film industry, known as Bollywood, continues to be the biggest entertainer in the country. Entertainment is the key driver for the adoption of the Internet in India.

For example in rural areas, more than 41 percent of people use the Internet for listening to movies and music and uploading content, according to the Internet & Mobile Association of India.

YouTube plans to make advertisement revenue-sharing agreements with content providers. It also said other advertisers were interested in sponsorship deals.

YouTube is ranked as the fifth most popular website in the country, according to web traffic monitoring service Alexa. The rank is calculated using a combination of average daily visitors and page views over the past month.

YouTube has already partnered with other popular news and entertainment channels in India to offer their content on the video-sharing site in return for shared advertising revenue.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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