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'Made for mobile' films soon!

March 02, 2007 14:12 IST
Back from Barcelona where he attended the 3GSM World Congress, Hungama managing director, Neeraj Roy, is on a high.

At the world congress, he made a presentation on "Bollywood goes mobile" and premiered two short Bollywood feature films on the mobile screen.

As CEO of Hungama, a mobile marketer and an aggregator and publisher of mobile content, Roy believes that action in the entertainment space will shift to the third screen.

Little surprise, then, that the company has already acquired the mobile rights to nearly 70 per cent of Bollywood films to be made in 2007-2008. Roy spoke to Shuchi Bansal on the future of the third screen.

You're releasing 'Made for mobile' feature films in April. Will they work?

We plan to release five out of a set of 10 short feature films (Dus Kahaniya) on the mobile. But the films, made by Sanjay Dutt and Sanjay Gupta's White Feather Films, will also be released in theatres. It's just that they've been made in a way to suit the mobile screen.

Will the films work?

Well, the mobile device is changing. In Barcelona, a handset manufacturer showcased a phone with a screen that could be enlarged and then folded back. Phones with memory chips will soon be able to store films which could be seen, say, on an LCD screen by attaching it to the phone.

Today we have mobile rights to nearly 50 per cent of the films made in Hollywood. We have exclusive contracts for films coming out of Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures.

Are you shifting focus from mobile marketing to mobile entertainment?

Mobile marketing is still an important piece of our business but, yes, in the next three years marketing versus entertainment will be in the 30:70 ratio.

The entertainment business is growing in scale. By the end of 2007, there will be 700 million smart phones, that is, media-enabled phones, globally.

International research indicates that mobile data (non SMS) revenue will touch $124 billion by 2010. Currently mobile entertainment is a $42 billion industry worldwide. We are at a stage where we are just snacking content. The moment I am able to store 1,000 songs on my mobile and watch full-length films, the device will be a complete entertainment device.

Will you create your own content?

Two years ago, we got amateurs to make 35 short films. Now, however, we'd rather have branded content. Right now mobile entertainment is inching towards television. We have tied up with Fashion TV. We also have exclusive content tie-up with AXN. Humour content - stand up comedies - have potential for the mobile medium.

What is the size of India's mobile entertainment industry?

It is still small - somewhere between $125 million to $150 million. But, 70 per cent of this revenue is retained by the carriers (read telecom operators).

The content owners and suppliers get very little share. This has to change. China's mobile entertainment industry is worth $1.5 billion. That's because the environment has been conducive to its growth.  People here are waiting in the wings for operator to content supplier revenue ratios to change.