Disney ties up with AirTel for mobisodes

MUMBAI: After Star India, it is Walt Disney Television International (India) that is exploring the mobile-enabled episode (mobisode) phenomenon.

The company has tied up with AirTel to develop mobisodes, games, ringtones, wallpapers and animation in the 'Disney Mobile Theatre' featuring popular cartoons. This is the third telecom operator Walt Disney will have tied up with, the other two being in Asia.

"It is a sunrise segment for Walt Disney. But it is rapidly growing, particularly in the East Asian markets like Japan," The Walt Disney Company India managing director Rajat Jain said.

AirTel will, thus, become the first provider of Disney Mobile Theatre in India providing characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto on the mobile.

The wallpapers will be priced at Rs 10 per download, whereas the mobisodes, videos, ringtones and Hello Tunes have been priced at Rs 15. A Disney game can be downloaded for a charge of Rs 99. However, company officials were reluctant to divulge the revenue sharing ratio between the two for the same.

AirTel customers can have access to six Disney animated series in the form of 30 second episodes exclusively made for mobile devices. The content can be downloaded from Airtel's entertainment portal - Airtel Live! and music and ringtones can also be downloaded from Airtel's Hello Tunes.

"With voice pricing coming down, we expect this to be a significant revenue stream for us. Across the globe, telecom operators generate 12-20 per cent revenues from non voice segment," Bharti Airtel director marketing and communications Hemant Sachdev said.

"We have always admired the Disney brand for the difference it makes to lives across the globe - bringing millions of people fun, laughter and wholesome entertainment. We are now pleased to partner with Disney to deliver outstanding creative content and entertainment. With Disney Mobile Theatre, Airtel customers can enjoy the Disney experience on the mobile for the first time in India from wherever they are," he added.

Walt Disney Internet Group executive vice president and managing director international Mark Handler said, "The launch of Disney branded mobile content on Airtel, including Disney Mobile Theatre and personalisation, content and games, combines Disney's rich story telling legacy and unparalleled brand equity with Airtel's leadership in wireless voice and data services to create an engaging and unique mobile experience for customers."

Added Jain: "India is a priority for the entire company, and we are delivering on our strength to expand our presence here. We have a huge competitive advantage, thanks to the strength of the Disney brand, which is aspirational. We embrace new technology innovations in developing quality Disney entertainment and as leading content creators are best positioned to capture new ways of delivering it when and where the consumer demands. Using technology to advance our content and its distribution will play a fundamental role in securing our future."

The Walt Disney Internet Group has mobile content distribution in 12 other markets in the Asia Pacific region including Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, China, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Macau. Close to 695 million mobile consumers have access to Disney mobile content in this region.

Late last year, Star India had tied up with Hutch to create mobisodes of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge (TGILC), which aired on Star One. The price of a one time download of a mobisode of TGILC is Rs 10 per. Additionally, subscribers can also call 7827 (Star India's short code) to listen to the TGILC jokes for Rs 6.

Soon after, Zee Telefilms director and business head of Zee TV channel Punit Goenka had told that the company was seriously exploring the phenomenon of mobisodes and were in the process of identifying the properties which were best suited for it.

Now with Disney also tapping the rapidly growing mobile content and entertainment space, it won't be long before the others too follow suit.

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