Some data from US census
In the year 2003, there were 396,000 Hindi speaking people in US.
In the year 2003, there were 280,000 Gujarati speaking people in US.
In the year 2004, 70,000 Indians immigrated to US.
2001 census data indicates that there are atleast 822,000 people of Indian origin in the United states.
Wow the numbers are amazing! So a business targeting Indian community in the United States has a decent chance of survival, of course, provided the quality of service is good. Right??? Wrong.
Few months back I was spending so much time and energy looking for a good Indian movie rental club and the idea stuck me.(Look for Indian DVD rental club reviews) Hey, why not start one?!! The Indian community is huge and there are not many players in the field. Theoretically the chances of survival sounded decent. So I started drafting a business plan. Seed money – $15,000; amount charged to user – $20; lesson learnt – distressing.
The first challenge I faced was to find a DVD distributor for Indian movies. I did not find any directory listings. So I called up an Indian grocery store, introduced myself, stated my intentions and asked them for their distributors number. The person who answered the phone said that he can’t give out the number because the DVD distributor does not want his number distributed. Sounded too weird to be true. So I called up few more Indian grocery stores where they rent out Indian movies to get some contacts and every one of them repeated the same thing verbatim. Any business person who wants his business to grow, who wants to increase his customer base will want some advertisement. Why would he not want his number distributed? Because most of them deal with pirated DVDs, thats why.
Finally after phone calls to Canada and UK, I was able to get contacts of Indian language DVD distributors. Now comes the second hurdle. I was discussing the idea with my friends and found out that there are sites that allows people to pay a monthly fee and download/download and burn in to DVD or VCD unlimited number of movies. I looked at their website and was quite surprised that they had brand new movies, movies that have been released only a few days back on their catalogue. Once again piracy. These websites even have a disclaimer that downloading Movies/Mp3’s/Video files are considered to be illegal and that it is the subscriber’s responsibility to dispose downloaded content after viewing them. There are some websites that don’t even ask for a membership fee, they distribute the movies for free!
Later I spoke to few of the people who are in online DVD rental business and found out that they barely manage to sustain because of piracy issues. There are quite a few online rental companies that have closed its business because they loose their customers because of piracy. Even the big movie distribution companies, who invest millions of dollars to get movie copyrights are hesitant to go behind the people dealing with pirated versions. What chances to small business men have against these people?
To the people who make a living through pirated movies, have you ever heard the story of the farmer killing the goose that lays golden eggs in order to get rich soon? What you people are doing is no different from that. One has to respect the source of their livelihood. You guys want to make money through movies, but in the long run what you guys do will cripple the cinema industry.
We Indians, fail to look at downloading free movies/renting pirated movies as theft. We do not care about the quality of the movie, just the thought of watching a movie for free excites us to no end. As long as there is an audience there are going to be pirated movies. Let us show some respect to those people who try to make an honest business by dealing with legitimate DVDs.