Film content and entertainment business provider Shemaroo Entertainment plans to launch its movie premiere service ‘Miniplex’ on cable and online after partnering with two DTH players. Also Read - Airtel 5G service rollout: Airtel and Tata Group partner for Made in India 5G network
Shemaroo last month tied up with direct-to-home operators (DTH) Airtel and Tata Sky to launch Miniplex and the company said it will also look at tying up with other DTH players. Also Read - Jio maintains lead in 4G download speed, Vi in upload in May: TRAI
“DTH has now emerged as a large subscription platform. So we started initially with Airtel and then with Tata Sky, and over a period, we will make this service available to many platforms as possible, where the paid subscriber base has some scale,” Shemaroo Entertainment Director Hiren Gada told PTI. Also Read - Airtel launches new Rs 456 prepaid plan: Check data, validity, call and other benefits
He added that the expansion would happen in a phased manner and it would take about three to four quarters to have a wider base.
“By next December we should be present on many more platforms. There are four other (DTH) players. There are cable operators, particularly in the phase I, phase II markets where the digitization has already taken place or the cities where the process is taking place, so that is another set of people that we are looking to work with,” he said.
The company would be focusing on multi-system operators (MSOs) first as they have scale in terms of numbers and have technology back-end to support a paid platform. He further said they are considering a digital platform distribution that the Miniplex content can go through, on a paid basis.
Miniplex is an ad-free movie service, where the company will premiere one movie every Friday, besides showing curated movies through the week. Miniplex will predominantly showcase Hindi movies but the company will look at some cherry-picked regional content as well, going forward.
“The current thought process for Miniplex is that it is a Hindi movie service. But if some really brilliant regional cinema comes — which has a wider appeal, which has an international acclaim or National award winners or India’s entry to Oscars — those kind of movies we feel may fit into the proposition or the kind of audience we are looking at,” he said.
On the rationale for launching Miniplex, Gada said, “About 150-200 Hindi films release in a year. We have seen that the top 40 movies of the year, they are well discovered and people see them in theatres. Apart from the top few movies of the year, audiences end up missing most movies in theatres. Very often TV channels too don’t carry many such movies and so consumers don’t have access to them.”
Shemaroo has a content library of over 3,000 titles across languages. The company’s digital business has been growing at a brisk pace and contributes around 16 percent of the revenues, compared to 3 per cent, four or five years ago. Last year the digital business clocked in a revenue of Rs 37 crore and this year in the first half, it has generated over Rs 29 crore.
The company’s digital business includes the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) services of mobile operators, transaction models like iTunes, subscription model with over the top player HOOQ and free to consumer ad-supported model like YouTube. The company has over 40 channels on YouTube and gets around 3 million views per day.
Gada said there are no plans at present for the company to launch its own digital platform. “We are technology and platform agnostic. Our focus is to have our content on as many platforms as possible,” he said.