Abridged audio blockbusters on mobile phones

UTV New Media Ltd launches one-hour films

 What do you do? Run home to scour your DVD collection? No, you just take your mobile phone out, and listen to not only this dialogue but all the immortal dialogues from the Ramesh Sippy film.

Dialogues from famous films like this one are now possible to listen to on mobile phones, thanks to the launch of one-hour ‘audio films’ by leading production house UTV.
UTV New Media Ltd, the digital arm of UTV Software Communications, has launched this format, which harks back to the days of popular audio version of Hindi films on All India Radio before the advent of television, with four films in four languages.

Apart from ‘Sholay’, the other films which are available right now in this format are Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Fashion’, Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film ‘Thalapathy’ starring Rajnikanth and Mammootty, Kannada blockbuster ‘Prema Loka’ and Telugu hit ‘Gang Leader’. Among the films soon to be available in this format is the superhit ‘Roja’.

“This new format haxs been launched after our research showed that many people would like to go through the audio versions of their favourite films while on the move,” UTV New Media CEO T N Prabhu told Deccan Herald. The company has already tied up with most of the mobile operators to take the product to the people.

Prabhu, pointing out that similar audio movies have been popular with AIR and BBC, said, “We are abridging popular movies into an hour, and we believe that this can be a popular tool for entertainment on the move in cities and towns.”

The service does not come cheap, as most mobile service operators charge Rs six per minute of usage for such services, but nonetheless, Prabhu believes it would be a successful business model.

“People often want quick references to their favourite movies, and this is a sure way to get it. Audio downloads have already become the major source or revenue for mobile phone companies, and this service can add it,” Prabhu said.

Right now the movies being sources for the service come from UTV’s own library as well as Lahari in Southern India and Universal Music. “We will subsequently add other languages too,” said Prabhu. In a country full of film-crazy people, this could be one surefire business model for all involved.

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