Coming soon on broadband: movies on demand

MUMBAI: Movie acquisition for broadband content has started. At least two major deals have been struck recently.

Time Magnetics (India) Pvt Ltd and Ultra Distributors Pvt Ltd. have sold cable TV and video-on-demand (VoD) rights for a chunk of their movies at an undisclosed price. "This is the first time that we are selling VoD rights. It is a promising area as broadband players have major plans lined up," says Time Magnetics promoter Dhiraj Shah.

Time Magnetics has sold five-year rights for 78 movies to Netizen Rajasthan Pvt Ltd while Ultra has parted with over 100 titles including Ashoka and Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. "We signed the deal with Netizen a week ago. Negotiations were on for over three months," says Shah.

Ultra Distributors managing director Sushil Agarwal also admitted that the company has sold cable TV and video-on-demand rights for over 100 movies. "It is a mixture of old and new movies including those of Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. Negotiations are on for more movies," he says. He, however, declined to name the company which purchased the cable TV and VoD rights.

Market sources say the movies from Time and Ultra are being bought on behalf of Reliance Infocomm. However, no confirmation was available. Indiantelevision.com, on Friday e-mailed a detailed questionnaire to Reliance Infocomm, but did not get any response from the company. Reliance has ambitious broadband plans including offering movie content on their VoD service, but is yet to spell out a detailed game plan.

Most of the broadband players are looking more at a revenue share than an acquisition model. But content providers are only interested in an outright purchase model. "We do not know how many homes will want VoD. It is very difficult for us to estimate our revenue inflows. We are comfortable selling our rights," says Shah.

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