Media, the digital entertainment arm of the Rajshri Group, has launched a video series called Akbar Birbal Remixed, which has been specially created for the Internet and mobile.
The series is available in the form of three minute video episodes based on five characters led by Akbar Anna and Birbal Bhaiyya. Akbar Birbal Remixed is actually a modern remake of the traditional stories about Akbar's witty minister, Birbal. The difference here is that Akbar Anna is an underworld don and Birbal Bhaiyya his henchman.
Speaking to afaqs! about the series, Rajjat A Barjatya, director of Rajshri Media, says, "We have taken the traditional anecdotes of Akbar and Birbal and made them contemporary. They are inspired by Bollywood and will surely attract a younger audience that is different from the TV audience."
On mobile, Rajshri has an exclusive tie-up for 90 days with operator Idea Cellular. On Idea Fresh, the operator's GPRS site, each video can be downloaded for Rs 15. Subscription options are available on a weekly and monthly basis. The episodes are also available as audio on Idea's voice portal, also chargeable per minute. On SMS, the episodes will be made available through text jokes, wallpapers and ringtones. Barjatya says the series will eventually be made available with other operators.
Though mobile video is yet to take off in a big way, Barjatya is optimistic. "I am bullish about the audio product, though video is a longer term play as consumers move up the value chain. We have optimised the videos for today's bandwidth constraints (on mobile) by reducing the frames per second," he says.
As part of the tie-up, Rajshri and Idea Cellular will promote the series both online and offline. The campaign will range from social media and search marketing to TV tickers, hoardings and radio spots. "I foresee very strong word of mouth for the series, especially through viral marketing as people pass on the episodes to each other," says Barjatya.
Rajshri has created a channel on YouTube, which Barjatya claims has received more than a lakh views since its launch a week ago. The company also has an ad revenue sharing arrangement with Google for the channel. Rajshri is planning a similar channel on MySpace India. Online communities are being created on Orkut and Facebook, too, for the series.
Though Akbar Birbal Remixed has been launched on the web and mobile, Rajshri has plans to take the content to traditional media such as TV, FM radio and home video.