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Friday, December 18

Why we started a Blog

To be honest, SEO - Search Engine Optimisation. There are 25 lakh Malayalis outside India (NRKs) but barely 13,000 have discovered Reelmonk.

Before I start on that, let me put down what Reelmonk is. Reelmonk is the first website where Malayalam films are available for download and to watch legally in high definition. The idea was conceptualised by our founder Blaise Crowly, out of frustration when he was living in a place with really limited access to the latest Malayalam movies which was a really hard thing for him, being an ardent Malayalam movie fan. We believed Malayalis abroad share a similiar frustration with little or no access to the latest Malayalam films. Hence, began this last mile delivery solution for the 140 odd malayalam films that release every year and the 25 lakh NRKs.

We began work in October 2014 and launched the platform after 9 months of hard core development on July 20, 2015 with 5 films - Njan Steve Lopez by Rajeev Ravi, Nee-Na by Lal Jose, Compartment by Salim Kumar and two other 2015 malayalam movies. We had 1,300 sign ups on Day 1 and 134 downloads. The site had to be shut down because of the heavy traffic.

We marched ahead the next day and over the next few weeks went from strength to strength, maintaining a regular release schedule, building a collection of evergreen Malayalam classics, releasing Ottaal on the same day as its theatrical release and more and more downloads. But somehow, we weren't reaching enough people. 25 lakh Malayalis out there and we were signing up only thousands. Why weren't we getting discovered?

The key to any new business' success - Discovery. We tried facebook ads, press releases but we weren't touching lakhs. We are still in the thousands. and hence, began our quest to reach 1.5 lakh users before August 2016. SEO is part of that quest. We need Malayalis to be able to find us when they look for Malayalam films on the internet. Searches like 'watch malayalam movies online' or 'watch njan steve lopez full movie' should bring Malayalis to Reelmonk so that they don't leave disappointed that the World Wide Web cannot provide a legal way to download and watch HD Malayalam content.

We have other plans in the 1.5Lac quest - connecting with Malayali Associations abroad, e-mailers and posters, word of mouth through friends and family, etc. When I started writing this post and shared it with the rest of the team for feedback, I realised that this wasn't going to be about SEO. We all loved to tell a story. Maybe that's part of the reason why this odd bunch of people came together to start the Reelmonk project - to tell a story.

Let me change my answer to 'Why we started a blog?' - To tell stories. Stories about cinema, the latest malayalam movies, about Reelmonk and sometimes random stories. Each of us will write a story every other week. Some of our friends may also write once in a while. If you guys have a story you'd like to tell send it in to and we'd love to put it up here.

We are looking forward to telling stories. We hope you guys enjoy reading them!


  1. I was too excited when i read about reelmonk online, immediately joined.1st day there was no option to recharge through netbanking .As soon as that option became available i recharged (recharged twice-27/7/15) . But reelmonk was not even half of what i expected from a online movie site.

    First of all your movie collection is so poor.(atleast according to me).There are no mainstream movies(movies of Mohanlal/mammooty,dilip, prithvi ,nivib etc)

    Then pricing is Ok for quality but not enough for mass appeal , but if you reformat or do anything with player or you change your device your movie/money is gone

    Third Customer service
    If anybody has used your setup i am sure he would have contacted your customer care too
    Because there are too many flaws in your setup
    You click live help chat then a form pops up asking you all ur details (even email ,phone no, player version ) even when you are logged in (so 0 for user friendliness)
    Once i faced a problem while downloading a movie, amount was deducted , but movie did not download or appear in my library .I contacted live help chat, he wanted teamviewer access to my PC. I was not happy with that, but as they were startup from kerala, i agreed .He checked opening reelmonk player and some folder in windows explorer , then acknowledged the problem .he was not able to add movie to library,I had to ask for refund (I had to ask for refund of points even after problem was acknowledged ) So he told he had forwarded it to finance department.You can expect a resolution within 24hrs
    after 3 days of no reply i again contacted thru same channel, went through same procedure and was offered same within 24 hr solution
    i waited this time also was on annual vacation for 34 days, i tried contacted even mr. blaise thru e-mail and waited
    Even after i return the promised refund was not made. i again contacted thru chat mentioning all this, third time i was "lucky" and got refund after 1.5 months

    There should have been logs to check player/system errors and a system to follow-up complaints like complaint id and multiple channels for addressing complaints

    Customer support is an integral part of any online business, you should really focus on it as you are in initial stages of growth
    My advice: Be just and prompt to your customerAdjust pricing , provide some old movies for free, at least bring all malayalam movies whose dvd has been released ,

    As of now i cannot wholeheartedly recommend reelmonk to any one.

    PS: I am waiting to satisfactorily use my 720 points balance in my reelmonk account as of 29/12/15

    1. We fully understand your concerns and will work on correcting each one.

      We are currently hosting some wonderful content such as Ottaal, Ain, Kanyaka Talkies and Njan Steve Lopez. Although, bring good quality independent cinema to a worldwide audience will always be the part that remains close to our heart, we understand that in terms of mainstream content we are not the prime choice for any malayalam film viewer except maybe Kohinoor. We have been trying (sometimes round the clock) to bring mainstream content to the platform and realise this is the only way to truly reach a worldwide audience. However, the malayalam film industry is a hard one to crack since the concept of online release is alien to our traditional film producer. However, slowly the industry is opening up to the concept especially after Ottaal's same day online release which was very well received by the Malayali audience. We are taking baby steps into this sphere and one day we promise to bring you the next Mammooty or Mohanal starrer to the platform. We are unable to bring the films that have had DVD releases to the platform since the online rights have been purchased by TV channels such as Asianet or Surya. We as a young startup do not yet have the economic capacity to purchase the online rights early on, before they are sold to the big fish.

      We have received feedback from many users regarding the inability to play files after formatting their system. We are happy to say that we are rolling out an update in Jan'16 that will fix this issue. All our viewers will be able to restore their purchases without having to redownload the film. The same can be accomplished even if you change your system. However, due to concerns of the industry regarding piracy, we will still be limiting playback to any one device.

      Our Help Chat has just been upgraded and you will find the new version very easy to use. A ticketing system is being tested now as well and will be implemented soon. We try to develop as many things in-house so that we can keep costs low. In the future we hope you will not face any issues with regards to customer support. Because to us, our users and our filmmakers are most important!

      We do hope we can expand our movie collection to better suit your tastes and that someday you can use those 720 credits and enjoy some good cinema.


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