Jan 15, 2009

Business - Channels turn to cellphones, net

Pradipta Mukherjee

Mobile phones and the internet are the new thrust areas for entertainment companies like Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India, Nick India and Sony Pix. These firms are concentrating on creating “other revenue generating streams” using these media, over and above the traditional merchandise sales.

Currently, SET India derives 5 per cent of its revenues from “other revenue generating streams”. The firm plans to double it to 10 per cent in two years.

Danish Khan, marketing head, SET India, said: “Currently, 60 per cent of our revenues come from advertisements, 25 per cent from subscription revenues from cable operators and around 5 per cent from other revenue generating streams like ringtones, and music and video downloads.”

For shows like Indian Idol, the website witnesses close to 500,000 page views per week and around 100,000 video downloads per week. “Website downloads are free for consumers. Consumers pay when downloading from mobiles. For instance, ringtone and music downloads would cost between Rs 2 and Rs 20 per download,” Khan added.

Nick India, the MTV Networks channel for children between 4 years and 9 years, is depending on consumer products, online and mobile platforms, to create a ‘tangible’ revenue stream. The channel is reworking its website in order to add its original content and online shows and build a community of online users, in order to attract online advertisements.

Merchandise, too, will be available for online purchase. Currently, around 50 per cent of the channel’s revenues come from advertising and the remaining come from cable subscriptions. However, the company is targeting emerging media like the internet and mobile to ensure that other revenue streams contribute at least 10 per cent to the revenue after four years.

Kashmira Gandhi, associate director, marketing, Nick India, said: “We are completely redoing our website to add games, music downloads, as well as a section for parents. We will also have blogs and friends column for children. We are looking at the mobile platform for ringtone, wallpaper and games downloads.”

“We will introduce three new live-action and animation shows by March 2009. New downloads will be available on internet and mobile. The range of current offers will be expanded,” Gandhi added. The company is also expanding its consumer products range and retail presence. It currently has merchandise priced between Rs 50 and Rs 4,000 in around eight categories like back-to-school like tiffin boxes, school bags, etc.

Sony Pix will soon introduce merchandise for its original programming content. The channel is also reworking its website to build a community of online users to attract online advertisements.

Sunder Aaron, business head of Sony Pix, said: “We are looking at newer revenue earning options. Our focus will be merchandising of our original programming content, which will also be made available online. We also plan to build an online community of Sony Pix loyalists. They can chat, blog, as well as leave programme reviews on our websites.” Currently around 50 per cent of the channel’s revenues are from advertisements and the remaining from cable subscriptions.

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