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UTV offers movies on mobile

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | June 04, 2009
Movies will be available in the audio format as 60 minute clips across all major telecom operators in India

UTV has geared up to earn some additional revenue from the movie content it owns. It has started a new service, called Audio Cinema, under which movies will be packaged in audio clips of 60 minutes duration each, and will be made available to both mobile and landline phone users. The clip will consist of narration and dialogues from the movie.

The Audio Cinema service will be available across all major telephone operators in India and to access and listen to a movie, consumers have to dial 505999555 and select the movie.

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This is not the first venture of UTV on mobile. In April 2009, UTV New Media Ventures launched a music video channel called UTVatPlay on the mobile TV platform.

TN Prabhu, chief executive officer, UTV New Media Ventures, tells afaqs!, "Audio Cinema will be targeted towards Tier II and III towns."

The company plans to offer 208 movies in Hindi, English, Telugu and Kannada within the first year of the service. However, all the movies will not be made available right from the beginning. In fact, UTV plans to release movies in a phased manner and will launch a movie every week in each language.

To begin with, it will release Hindi movies Fashion and Sholay; Prem Loka, a Kannada movie; Tamil movie Thalapathi and Telugu movie Gang Leader.

On the revenue model, Prabhu says, "Consumers will be charged Rs 1-6 per minute. They may also opt for a package of Rs 30 for 30 minutes of access to the service."

He adds, "We will share revenue with the telecom operator. As usual, maximum share of the revenue will be routed to the telecom operator."

OnMobile, a mobile value added services (VAS) player, is the technological partner of UTV New Media Ventures in the Audio Cinema service.

This is not the first time that a media company is trying to monetise its video content on the mobile platform. In 2006, STAR TV started offering its content on mobile as audio clips.