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Bollywood goes mobile with Barcelona launch

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MUMBAI: The world’s largest film industry joined forces with the global mobile communications world today in spectacular fashion - as Bollywood premiered its first feature films for mobile viewers at the 3GSM World Congress (February 12-15) in Barcelona.

The Congress marks the start of the adaptation of thousands of vibrant Bollywood productions for the mobile screen - a development that could have a huge impact on the global mobile entertainment market, already worth some $US23 billion.

The Bollywood Mobile Initiative is driven by Roamware, the global leader in roaming and mobile connectivity solutions; Hungama Mobile, the world’s largest aggregator, developer and publisher of Indian entertainment and Bollywood content; Sanjay Gupta, a leading Bollywood director; and the GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade association for mobile operators.

Roamware’s Media Call technology is providing the capability to integrate the cinematic content into the everyday mobile experience for film fans.

"Media Call redefines mobile communications from voice to visual media, enabling the sharing and promotion of film clips to accelerate the growth of the mobile movie market," said Bobby Srinivasan, CEO of Roamware.

Two Bollywood short films "Zahir" & "Matriomony" were premiered in Barcelona today. These films are a part of the feature film 'Dus Kahaniyaan' (10 Stories) produced by Sanjay Gupta of White Feather Films, starring more than 20 leading Bollywood stars including Dia Mirza, Suneil Shetty, Sanjay Dutt, Neha Mandira Bedi, Aftab Shivdasani and many others. Sanjay Gupta is one of Bollywood's leading filmmakers who has produced and directed many hugely popular movies such as Kaante, Musafir and Zinda.

The films demonstrate the viral potential for Bollywood movies on the ‘fourth screen’ –the mobile device. Set pieces with action and dialogue scenes interspersed with song and dance make the vibrant, fast moving movies a compelling entertainment experience for the mobile viewer.

"Bollywood today is the world’s largest movie industry, producing more than a thousand movies a year with an audience of more than two billion viewers across 127 countries. Formatting that content for the mobile audience and ensuring simplicity of delivery and accessibility provides staggering reach and revenue possibilities," said Bobby Srinivasan, CEO and Chairman, Roamware.

"The GSMA is delighted to welcome the stars and directors from the Bollywood world to the world’s largest mobile event," said Bill Gajda, Chief Marketing Officer of the GSMA. "We are excited by the tremendous potential for Bollywood entertainment on mobile phones, and delighted to support the efforts of Roamware and Hungama Mobile in their commitment to bringing a rich array of Indian film entertainment to the fourth screen for a global audience of millions."

"India is the fastest growing market in the mobile world, and the world’s fourth largest market. It has the potential to be the largest market globally by 2010. It is the most logical market from which to launch the mobile movie industry and present a brand new avenue of cinematic entertainment for mobile users everywhere. The potential is truly amazing. Hungama Mobile has already launched a Bollywood channel directly on operator decks around the world in nearly 30 countries, with over 70 operators. This channel contains music, imagery, video and games from Bollywood. Showcasing Bollywood movies on mobile is a natural extension both as a tremendous new marketing opportunity as also revenue for all the stakeholders," said Neeraj Roy, Managing Director & CEO, Hungama Mobile.

Hungama Mobile’s content assets and a two year foray in taking Bollywood to the mobile world, coupled with Roamware’s global reach, holds huge promise for the mobile market. The dramatic evolution of communications technology, from download speeds and battery life to compact form factors, screen sizes and resolution, as well as memory enhancements, means mobile devices are now capable of delivering a compelling, high quality and uniquely personal viewing experience.

Bollywood is one of the fastest growing entertainment industry segments and has an appeal not only for the 150 million mobile phone users in India but for markets across all continents. Indian cinema is now dubbed in over 35 languages and accounts for as much as 16.5% of theatrical business in markets such as UK. Indian films have made it into the top 10 charts in markets such as USA, UK, Germany, Australia, Singapore and South Africa. More than 3.6 billion admission tickets are sold each year, across the world and now Hungama Mobile and Roamware will take this to some 2.5 billion mobile screens.

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