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Online content mkt may touch $5.6 bn by 2006

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MUMBAI: There is a huge opportunity for media owners to leverage the digital media space globally. The online market for digital content is expected to reach $ 5.6 billion in 2006.

However, it is important that different players think about strategies to implement digital rights management. There will be a definite first mover advantage.

This was one of the key points that Intel director corporate marketing group Trish Thompson made at the inaugural session on the second day of Frames.

Dwelling on the emerging usage of digital media, she said, "Broaband home Penetration will increase by 30 per cent. In India it is expected to go up from 200,000 subscribers to three million in the next three years. Even if it touches a million, this represents a five fold increase."

Increasingly the global trend is that home devices like PCs, DVDs and VCRs Are becoming networked.Therefore, the digital media home network provides a "huge opportunity" for business models, Thompson said.

To illustrate her point, Thompson said that increasingly PCs are

getting digita media enabled, being able to handle pictures from a digital camera or digitalmovies or even digital music. At the moment, 40 per cent of PCs are digial media enabled. This year around 70 million PCs will enter homes, while the number is expected to grow to 90 millions by 2008 and 90 per cent

of these will be digital media enabled.

"The possibility is big. For instance, a Bollywood filmmaker can reach the NRI market using the Internet platform for a same day release," Thompson said.

To illustrate the difference digital devices, she gave the example of the Movie Titanic. In seven years, 700 million people have seen it. While this is great with digital devices it is not unreasonable to think about one billion people viewing it in a year, the Intel executive said.

"The challenge is to think about the revenue model. Digital rights management becomes key," Thompson said, indicating that various issues need to be addressed like whether the owner shoyuld allow a film to viewed just once, whether there be a 24 hour window during which time the film can be seen over and over and whether the owner make it available for use across the different media.

She added: "These are issues that regulators and content owners need to Consider."

Intel also gave a glimpse into a digital lifestyle home where content will be wirelessly transferred from one place to another. For instance, the entertainment PC in the bedroom will have a library content. Through a streaming process a digital media adapter can bring the content to the television in the living room

should friends visit.

At the same time, it is important for the content to be secure enough so that it does not get intercepted by a neighbour while being wirelessly transfreed from one opart of the house to another.

"Digital transfer content protection becomes key here," Thompson explained.

Intel also made a pitch for device interoperablity from the PC to the remote control to the adapter. Keeping this in mind, the digital living network alliance was formed in the US. Intel was one of the founding members. Now there are 170 firms that are members, including Sony and Microsoft. While they have different visions they realise the need to have common standards.

Speaking about the opportunity for digital content, Thompson mentioned that the digital music market will be worth $1.7 billion in 2006. The online gaming market will be

worth $ 1.8 billion.

One country that has huge broadband potential is China where the current Broadband homes number 40 million. Four out of five download movies on the net, 37 per cent are willing to pay, while 26 per cent are not sure. The fact is that a great broadband interface allows for excellent quality that is better than piracy, Thompson concluded.

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