Now, Bollywood comes to your mobile phones

Oct 29, 2006 Priyanka Khanna

New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) In a classic case of better late than never, the Hindi film industry is slowly but surely succumbing to the charms of mobile phones with scores of filmmakers churning out custom-made content.

The newly launched mobile game based on Shah Rukh Khan-starrer "Don - The Chase Begins" is the latest in a string of Bollywood films that are fuelling the mobile gaming industry.

While many Hollywood blockbusters like "Star Wars", "King Kong", "The Incredibles" have all been made into computer games, Indian filmmakers have been slow to adopt the new technology.

Only recently, the Mumbai studio-based industry has begun designing mobile games. From "Rang De Basanti", to "Sarkar", even "Home Delivery", are among the 60-odd movies that have been converted into mobile games.

But it is not all about games. Bollywood is finding special synergy with the mobile industry. Some trade observers say the film world has the potential to gain much more by developing synergy with mobile technology simply because mobile penetration in India is far higher than the penetration of the Internet.

Already, the mobile music industry in the country is growing at an unbelievable pace. News reports citing a survey by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), say the mobile music download is growing at a scorching pace and is, in fact, stagnating the growth of legal conventional music.

Some estimate the size of the mobile music market may be a lot bigger that conventional music already. According to the COAI, the mobile music industry in India is worth nearly Rs.5 billion and is on the verge of overtaking the legal, conventional music industry.

According to a report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), the size of the conventional music industry is around Rs.7 billion and is estimated to end at Rs.7.2 billion in 2006-07.

By the end of this financial year, COAI expects that the mobile music industry, which is growing at the rate of 40 percent to 50 percent, will be worth in excess of Rs.7.2 billion.

In a country like India where value-added services (VAS) was all about SMS, thundering success of mobile music consisting of ring tones, colour ring back tones (CRBT) and music clippings ring tones are lucrative business opportunities.

Courtesy a market where carrying a high-end mobile phone is a rage, coupled with the strong affinity of Indians toward Bollywood, mobile music has emerged as the most prominent segment of VAS providers.

A new challenge is that till date piracy has been seen or heard of in the music, Bollywood or software industry but now it has taken a leap forward and is slowly and steadily creeping into the VAS industry, trade watchers caution.

A major problem plaguing the mobile music industry particularly is that of illegitimate downloads. Illegitimate downloads refer to the free transfer of content, music from one handset to another (like music downloaded from a friend's mobile) and according to the music industry, pirated downloads have reached a volume that is three times the legal music.

Not too long ago, there was talk that an Indian mobile operator would screen the world's first full movie. Talks were on between "Rok Sako To Rok Lo" and Bharti Tele-Ventures to make the film available to customers with EDGE-enabled handsets in 11 Indian cities.

Though the proposal did not generate much public demand, it is not long before we do get to see a blockbuster movie premier on our mobiles. Finally, Bollywood is taking mobile industry seriously.

According to latest estimates, only 40 percent of the revenue of a typical Bollywood film today comes from the box-office; the rest comes from music, DVD, satellite and Internet rights and direct-to-home (DTH) TV services and mobile ring-tones. And mobiles are turning out to be great for marketing.

Click the Movie button below for more info:
DON - The Chase Begins Again


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