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E-ntertainment anywhere, anytime

Aparna Krishnakumar | April 09, 2005

Imagine being able to access your favourite movies on your PC, which is in the bedroom from your living room television? Or getting mobile alerts of the breaking news on your mobile?

While to many it may seem a foreign possibility, the truth is Indians are getting ready to live digital. And the media and entertainment industry to a large extent is responsible.

Says Narendra Bhandari, regional manager, Asia Pacific- Intel Solutions Group, "Media is going digtial -- be it movies, music and even news. The ability to enjoy the media at home on different devices contributes to a digital home and living." And this is where the IT companies see the future as well.

Conventional IT solution providers are now in the forefront in associating their company with entertainment and media. IBM is one such example.

Traditionally, a back office solutions provider to companies across the board, in 1995 it formed a global media and entertainment division.

Says Steve Canepa, vice president of this division, "Historically the IT association for the media and entertainment was in the back office. In the late '90s, despite increasing revenues, media companies faced a quirky situation where the costs were also on the rise. And that's where we stepped in to consolidate overheads using technology."

IBM has been helping companies globally like Sony Pictures, CNN News, Lions Gate Entertainment convert their programmes previously in analog format go digital. Ditto for Intel.

The renowned chipmaker has since the late '90s been promoting a range of products under its digital entertainment division and the latest are entertainment personal computers.

Powered by the Intel Pentium 4 processor with HT Technology, an entertainment PC packs advanced multimedia capabilities into a stylish, sleek-looking entertainment component designed to work with a standard television.

You can experience music and movies in full 7.1 surround sound, record your favourite TV shows and watch them whenever you want, shop online, play games, check e-mail or burn a CD -- all from a single device, using either a remote control or a wireless keyboard or mouse.

According to Bhandari, these enhancements are a reflection of the way people are consuming media, and even Indians are no exception.

Media reports from consultancy firms like the KPMG and PriceWaterhouse Coopers reflect how digitalisation is going to affect the Indian media and entertainment industry.

According to the reports, digitisation is going to open alternate revenue streams for the movie industry, which traditionally depended on exhibition alone.

An Intel presentation at the recently concluded FICCI-FRAMES 2005 in Mumbai stated that while 700 million people had watched James Cameron's Titanic in seven years, a billion people would be able to watch the movie in a year alone with digital distribution.

Also, an IBM study on the media and entertainment industry has predicted that companies that will create leaner organisations catering to more platforms, devices and users wanting to edit, compile and share will survive eventually. But how far will digitalisation affect India?

According to industry sources, DTH and broadband are in a nascent stage and their success will impact the future. IBM has already partnered with Mumbai-based Crest Animation on some of their animation projects helping cross integration across platforms.

Adds Canepa, "We have increased our spending on our media and entertainment division in India and look forward to partnering clients for different service offerings."

Intel has also enabled a digital home planner that enables you to decide what devices you need to complete your digital experience. So, the day may not be far when you would download your favourite Shah Rukh movie by Thursday night and stream it from your PC into your living room for a Friday premiere with friends. All with the help of one remote.

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