Saturday, January 07, 2006

Intel hooks up with an Eros BoD

I’ve said elsewhere that one of the things that could drive broadband penetration in India is Bollywood. I know it is a crazy idea, but Bollywood is a major industry in India and I think almost any new way to get singing and dancing pretty-boy Shah Rukh Khan out into the Indian backwaters is a winner.

Intel and Eros (a Bollywood film company) have taken an early lead in the idea and launched a Bollywood on Demand (BoD) service. Very cool and I’ll be watching to see how this takes off.

This is obviously targeted to middle class Indians and Bollywood fanatics around the world, both Indians and non-Indians (including my wife!)

But where I get excited about this is when you look at the possibilities of rolling this out into rural areas. The image I have is of a village with some version of or variation on the $100 computer hooked up to the Internet. Every night a different movie is shown, villages line up to pay their few rupee entrance, grab some masala popcorn and there is an evening’s worth of entertainment for them.

The revenue per person is pennies, but multiply that by the 800 million or so people who live out in the rural areas and I reckon that’s gotta add up to something interesting. If an SP got involved, the potential to providing a BoD-type service to millions of people may provide some incentive to continue to build out IP networks across the country.

If you wanted to crunch some industry numbers: Bollywood revenues (2002) $1.5B vs. Hollywood 2002 revenues of $51B. But Bollywood sells about a billion more tickets annually and foreign distribution is helping Bollywood revenues grow at a fast pace, 25% between 2000-2002. (Stole this all off an old issue of BizWeek)

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