[App Fridays] MUBI, the Netflix for world cinema lovers, is now in India and here’s why it’s uniqueSohini Mitter
MUBI brings a handpicked selection of 30 arthouse classics every month and you can access all of them for a monthly subscription of Rs 500.
There’s a new movie-streaming app in town. And, it’s rather unique.
European streaming service MUBI that curates the world’s best arthouse and independent cinema debuted at the Mumbai Film Festival in October.
Efe Çakarel, the Turkey-born Founder and CEO of the app, travelled to India to shed light on the importance of the local film market, and the enormous appetite of our movie watchers. In India, MUBI will seek out relationships with film festivals, local producers and emerging talent who are eager to tell new stories to a global audience,” he announced.
Simply put, MUBI is unlike any streaming service India has seen so far. It ditches the idea of having a wide catalogue and presents a carefully “handpicked” selection of 30 movies at any given point. A new film is added every day, and the oldest one is removed. Every title on MUBI has a 30-day rotational run.
Classics available on the platform include works of the greatest auteurs in cinema history - Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, Akira Kurosawa, Wong Kar-Wai, Quentin Tarantino, Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt, and many more. (Interestingly, when MUBI was founded 10 years ago, it was called ‘The Auteur’.)
The selection, available in 11 languages, is aimed at world cinema connoisseurs, film festival enthusiasts, and indie movie lovers. “At MUBI, it’s all about the experience. So, if like most of us, you can’t get down to Cannes Film Festival, we’ll bring Cannes to you with our speciality programming and seasons,” states the app’s Google Play Store listing.
MUBI claims it has 8 million registered users on its platform globally and its app counts over 500,000 downloads on Play Store. In India, it is offering a seven-day free trial after which you have to pay Rs 500 per month (the only plan for now). subscribers also get access to a digital magazine, The Notebook, which carries critiques and analyses of films and filmmakers.
MUBI is available on multiple platforms - iOS, Android, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, and even on PlayStation, Sony Bravia and Samsung Smart TVs.
YourStory spent some time streaming on MUBI.
You log in first. While MUBI allows you to browse without logging in, in order to watch a film, a subscription is mandatory.
The homepage opens with the ‘Film of the Day’ - the one added last. All titles come with the name of the filmmaker and a short description.
When you click on every individual title, its running time, available subtitles, trailer, synopsis, MUBI’s own take, details on cast and crew, related Notebook articles, and user ratings and reviews are displayed. Incidentally, trailers are for free viewing. But, to watch the full film, you need to subscribe.
You can even check out a director's filmography and read up about other titles.
To check out other listings, you return to the homepage and scroll down. Themed selections such as retrospectives on specific directors (their birth anniversary month), newly restored classics, or titles from a recent film festival appear.
Some titles have labels like ‘Leaving Soon’ or ‘Leaving At Midnight’ attached to them, informing viewers that the film’s 30-day run is nearing its end.
All titles can be downloaded and viewed offline. There’s a download icon on the menu bar at the bottom of the homepage.
To start your free trial, you have to buy a monthly subscription. Go to App Settings on the menu bar and select that option.
MUBI allows both direct payments on the app store as well as mobile carrier billing. (Subscriptions renew automatically, and can also be cancelled anytime.)
MUBI breaks the online streaming clutter
The online video-streaming space in India is quite cluttered, to say the least. While over 30 OTT apps are jostling for eyeballs, 80 percent of consumers have only three apps at any given time, according to a recent BCG study.
Hence, it is critical to be different. And, MUBI successfully does that.
In a competitive OTT landscape that includes Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and a host of homegrown streaming apps - many of which mirror each other - MUBI comes as a breath of fresh air, especially for those starved of non-Bollywood content.
Traditionally, world cinema has been hard to access because of its limited theatrical run, especially in India, where a lion’s share of shows are going to local movies. Hence, for real cinema connoisseurs, MUBI is a legitimate and invaluable source of entertainment and discovery.
The app is simple and uncluttered, and the service costs as much as a basic Netflix plan. So, what are you waiting for?