A New Delivery Platform for your TV Soaps (Hold on - Not so Fast)

Posted by Rahul Sethi on 8:09 PM

Rajat Barjatiya, the brother of Sooraj Barjatiya has launched what is arguably India’s first mobile TV Soap.



“I hate to use the term first. I would rather say that we are among the first to make a serious attempt at doing this. We have produced a 90 episode series, with three minutes per episode, and it is in the humour genre,” Rajat said.


Quite clearly the trend is moving towards TV 'munching' as we have repeatedly stressed here on The Constant Observer



The series will be launched under the Rajshri Media Banner.




Mobile users in India are estimated at 291 Million according to latest reports and the number of users using the Internet from their Mobile phones is now 38 Million.



In my post on the Future of Mobile VAS in India, I spoke about the distributors, creators of content, and aggregators of content – those who modify content for phones and ipods. Rajshri Media is quite clearly a creator and aggregator combined. Such companies can become potent forces especially if they capitalize on early advantages.



Its not quite clear if Rajshri looks to charge users for these TV shows and it remains to be seen how they will make revenues.



I seriously doubt that users will access this mobile show on their mobiles. This statement keeping 2 things in mind:


-       High Download Costs

-       Low Download Speeds


As of now, for an average GSM user who does not have unlimited GPRS, it costs Rs. 10 per 10 kb. Add to that the cost of making a call. Even if the serial is free, it may cost a user about Rs. 50 to download one episode. Why would anyone spend so much time, effort and money to watch a soap? For consumers with ‘unlimited plans’, the speeds are too low and they too need to make local calls to connect via GPRS – here too the costs may be about Rs. 20 per download. 



One alternative is to sell the TV shows through the Rajshri portal and then allow users to transfer these shows to their phones or ipods to watch on the go. This defeats the purpose as the beauty with this series would be in the instancy of the distribution platform which as of now is hardly ‘instant’. Further, what stops users from viewing the series on their computers itself?



I have spoken about the problems with VAS in India in detail here.



Infrastructure to provide high speed internet over mobile phones still remains a problem which will have to be solved soon in order to maximize the capabilities of mobile Internet. A lot of phones are now available with Wi – Fi capabilities. In the future one may see 802.16 Wi Max enabled phones as well. That’s where the real action is going to be. High speed low cost internet over mobiles.  A few weeks back, a premier operator (Vodafone) experienced a failure of its voice services. Click here to read more on that.  If the infrastructure problem is not solved, and if there is no reinvestment into latest technologies by telecom operators, one can try and optimize the use experience and the prize of handsets as much as possible – the real fruits of internet over mobile can be enjoyed only with an infrastructure. 


Comment by MY LIFE ONLINE on January 3, 2008 at 11:42 PM

Or...if dey really wanna go big...dey can set up deals wid small shops..mobile shops or shops were one can recharde cell phones...keep a computer der..with cables 4 pda cell phones that support their serial types...and once the soap gets popular..people will automatically come and update their phones for the latest episode...

Comment by HarshilJK on January 4, 2008 at 6:46 AM

Kiosks - yea thats a popular platform that already exists. But think about it - Hungama has kiosks - they charge about Rs. 40 for VAS. These guys will charge the same. Apart from that the advantage of the mobile is 'mobility' - so if u cant really capitalize on the distribution platform then i see a problem.

Comment by sachinuppal on January 4, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Well the concerns outlined are very valid...

However, my 2 cents...

The growth of Mobile Phones in India has been the strongest as compared to any country.(simialr to Dubai)

Which means we are very open to new technology adoption. Though I am not saying the normal Auto Driver or a rickshaw puller would constitute this audience. However, a yound Indian audience as well as corporate Indian audience does participate in this.

Now looking at how the companies are innovating


the advanced 3G networks would be seen soon in India and that is when the volumes will take care of costs and network will take care of speeds and revenue sharing models will continue to fuel the profits.

And with mobile advertising getting its pace, i am sure, you are set to see positive moves from providers and advertisers by the end of 2008 or early 2009.


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