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Bollywood on mobile mints money

July 07, 2005 12:28 IST
With the mobile subscriber base in India about to touch the 50 million mark, Bollywood is increasingly eyeing the movie-based content like wallpapers, ring tones, screen savers and games on mobile phones to reach out to this section not only for publicity, but also as a medium that can be used to recover some of the costs incurred on the movies.

Thus, you have ring tones of hit movies 'Dhoom Machade' and 'Woh Lamhe' booming out of almost every other mobile phone in town and 'Hum Tum' wallpapers and jokes being forwarded in their thousands by youngsters.

"The film makers in India primarily approach the mobile medium as a promotional mechanism but mobile content also adds lakhs of rupees of revenue to their kitty," says Arun Gupta, COO of Mauj.com, a leading mobile content provider.

"The interesting thing here is this income is net profit for film producers as they have almost no extra expense to be incurred," adds Gupta. The revenue thus generated ranges anywhere between Rs 5 to Rs 20 lakhs per film, he says.

Some of the film banners that have been in the forefront in exploring this market include Yash Chopra's Yash Raj Films, Ram Gopal Verma's The Factory and Rakesh Roshan's Filmkraft, just to name a few.

Although the revenue share varies from operator to operator, in general, from a movie ring tone which would cost Rs 10, the share would be like this: Rs.1.50 would end up in the government's pocket, Rs 2.75 would be charged by the producer or the music company, Rs 2 would go to the content provider (maker of the ring tone) like Mauj and the rest would be taken by the operator.

Mobile operators think in terms of brand association besides of course - the profits. "Branding certainly gets a fillip, and it works both ways. Big banner movies get noticed more when operators also put their marketing muscle behind it, and it also helps the operators to be able to showcase exclusive content from upcoming movies" says Mohit Bhatnagar, vice-president, VAS & new product development of Airtel mobile services.

Recently mobile customers were able to access content from the movie 'Batman Begins' on an operator's portal.  The content included Batman Begins wallpapers, animated images videos, true tones and mobile games.

For major film banners, the primary reason for venturing into the mobile content could be publicity, but for small and medium movie makers, the approach is different.

"Publicity is important but recovery of some of the costs was a major factor why we went for the mobile content of our movie," says Deepak Tijori, the director of the Hindi flick, Fareb. 

Talking about the numbers, Tijori says, "In our case it may well recover anything between 5-10 per cent."

Besides offering wallpapers and ring tones, the mobile customers are asked to participate in a contest wherein the maximum downloaders would have a chance of spending an evening with their favourite 'Fareb' stars.

Movie based java games platform on mobile phones is in a nascent stage in India, because of the costs – anything between Rs 50-100 a game and a low level GPRS penetration.

But the market is growing, and customers are showing interest in downloading the games. 

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