UTV, Shemaroo bet big on new media to drive growth, revenue

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai | Updated: Jul 23 2010, 05:03am hrs
New media that offer value-added services on mobile phones and Internet will be a key growth driver for television broadcasters and even film distributors, say industry players. Media companies are increasingly looking to create properties in this space in order to generate more revenues.

One such medium is audio cinema, where a subscriber can hear dialogues of movies on their mobile phones. Says Ronnie Screwvala, CEO of the UTV Group, which is keen on creating properties in the mobile and Internet space, New media will be the key growth driver for our company in the coming months. UTV audio cinema already has about 1.5 million subscribers, contributing revenues of Rs 3.5 crore per month. Screwvala said the advanced technology is the game changer for the industry, as everything in entertainment and media will be consumed on multiple screens and devices. Apart from providing content on mobile phones, the company operates consumer technology driven websites, techtree.com with a subscriber base of 1.1million, and utvcxotoday.com targeted at the IT industry.

The popularity of new media can be gauged from the fact that UTV, which had posted a net loss of Rs 2 crore in the new media segment in the June quarter of 2009-10, reported a profit of Rs 20 lakh in the latest quarter of 2010-11. Revenues for the quarter increased 89% to Rs 5.3 crore compared with Rs 2.78 crore.

Earlier, another broadcaster Star TV has introduced mobile TV for more viewership. It shares its popular content with users through SMSes, voice and mobile Internet. This is done on 2G enabled phones and with the expected rollout of 3G services soon, broadcasters believe they can monetise longer duration content on a high-speed date network.

Hiren Gada, director, Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd, gives an example With the arrival of 3G services in the telecom industry, video will be consumed in a big way. One can have songs, or edited films or episodic content on mobile phones. Shemaroo has over 1000 film titles, and is is keen on rolling out on 3G enabled cell phones.

The expected rollout of 3G services is likely to provide efficient high-speed data network to mobile users.