(By Diwaskar Chettri & Preethi J)
When carts selling CDs started appearing next to chaat stalls and ice cream/kulfi sellers on our roads, eyebrows were raised but it has now become a common enough sight and impulse purchases have soared with prices of branded movie CDs falling to an affordable Rs. 35 -50 and movie DVDs to Rs. 200. Now, the company that began that revolution in India, Moser Baer, has launched content-laden Micro SD cards for handsets. It also plans to offer pre-loaded Secure Digital (SD) and Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) cards in the near future.
Content, Home Video Collection
One Micro SD card will have an approximate 3-4 movies and songs from the movies. This format might change according to the demand in the market: “We might have a mp3 like collection of popular songs on a single disk ” said a company spokesperson when asked if a card of assorted songs would also be available.
The company has no tie-ups with any record labels and will leverage its entertainment arm Moser Baer Home Video which already has a collection of Indian films for the preloaded content, the company spokesperson told MediaNama. The entertainment division owns the rights for close to 10,000 home videos and has released 3000 so far. The collection includes titles in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali and non-film categories. It has rental rights to films like Jab We Met, Kabhi Hann Kabhi Naa, Yuva.
In September 2009, Medianama had reported that T-Series and Hungama would be releasing music for the film Blue on both digital and physical formats including pen drives and microchips. According to Mint, Reliance ADAG owned BIG Music and Home Entertainment also released the music of its film Do Knot Disturb on similar formats. T-Series on the other hand had tied up with Moser Baer’s competitor Transcend for content from the film Blue. Where Moser Baer might have a slight disadvantage is on the content side. Reliance Big Entertainment have a strategic partnership with T-Series and Hungama Digital Media for content sharing. This gives the three partners a huge pool of content they can utilise.
One distinct advantage that Moser Baer has its own solid state device manufacturing unit at Noida, which could help reduce costs. In the first four months of the manufacturing unit becoming operational, the company had a 11 percent share in India’s USB Flash Drive market.
Marketing, Pricing, Too Little But Not Too Late
When asked, the company said it will market these cards as a standalone product and has no current plans to bundle them with handsets. Nokia already offers bundled content on SD cards that come with its music handsets such as the Xpress music series, so is Moser Baer losing out on an opportunity by not partnering with other handset makers?
The company also declined to reveal the pricing of the product calling the market “volatile” and only said that the cards would have different pricing depending on location. Disappointing: we could have compared music and video downloads on handsets, which are being marketed by operators and content owners with the retail pricing of a Micro SD card. Which would you choose?
With Mobile Internet showing signs of failure to take off yet in India, Moser Baer’s offer of bundled Micro SD cards does sound like a good alternative for consumers. Currently a micro SD card with 1GB capacity (minus any content) is priced at an average MRP of Rs. 399. If the company offered a convenient case for storing the little cards (they are stamp sized: 11mm x 15mm x 1mm), that might be a good move.
We will update this post with a picture of the new content-laden micro SD cards soon.
In March 2009, Moser Baer launched two new MP3 players. It reported a net sales of Rs 518 crore for the quarter ended September, 2009, up 10 percent as compared to Rs 472 crore of the preceding quarter. EBITDA margin was steady at 20 percent.