Feb 24th 2011: So, the sale is on: Balaji Telefilms’ shareholders have approved the sale of the Internet and Mobile business, and with a 86.71 percent majority. Note that only 177 polls were cast for this resolution, and 150 of them were in favor of the sale, 23 against; the results were declared on February 18th 2011. Details (pdf)

Earlier (Jan 17th, 2011): Production company Balaji Telefilms will look to sell three of its business divisions – Internet, Mobile and Education; this move comes a little over three months after its CEO for New Media, Uday Sodhi, left to join recruitment portal HeadHonchos.com as CEO.

Internet: Balaji’s Internet division recently relaunched its entertainment recruitment portal Hoonur.com as a social network, allowing television aspirants to showcase their talent online, and hunt for jobs. Hoonur competes with similar portals from other production companies:

K Sera Sera Productions owns the portal KMediaTalent, while Rajshri Media appears to have recently launched RajshriTalent. As of March 31st 2010, Hoonur claimed to have over 50,000 portfolios, and 300,000 photos, video and audio tracks. Balaji New MEdia also produced an online show Bol Niti Bol, based on LonelyGirl15.

Mobile: In FY10, Balaji Telefilms produced over 70 hours of made for mobile audio and video content – Devotional, humor, Mythology, Jokes, and “youth oriented fiction” – for distribution as mobile value added services, with content live with telecom operators MTS, Virgin, Idea, Aricel, Airtel, BSNL (on BSNL 3G as well), Loop and Reliance, as well as VAS companies like Spice, OnMobile Global and IMI Mobile*. For Aircel, it also produced a TV show called Kriminal Kaun. It also produced a devotion focused iPhone Application on Lord Ganesha, with stories and devotional songs.

Our Take

Firstly, it’s a little surprising to see Balaji looking to sell the new media businesses so early in its lifecycle, especially since there appears to be a shift it power towards content licensees on the mobile. Perhaps the time for made for mobile content hasn’t quite arrived, but Balaji Telefilms would need to keep its cost of production for new media low.

We do hope that this doesn’t mean the end of New Media initiatives from Balaji Telefilms – content from their TV Shows would fit well into a summarized, excerpted TV show model, and perhaps they should consider licensing their content for new media, instead of investing in production.

*

A lot happening at media company owned digital businesses, this last month:

Shine.com To Be Merged Into HT Media
– Web18 To Be Merged Into Network18; To Settle With Nokia Growth Partners

Our Balaji New Media coverage:
Hoonur Relaunches As Social Network
Updated: Uday Sodhi Joins Upstart Job Portal HeadHonchos.com As CEO
Balaji New Media CEO Uday Sodhi On Hoonur.com, Mobile Content Initiatives
Updated: Balaji Telefilms Launches Made For Mobile Detective Series On Voice With Aircel
Balaji Telefilms To Launch Online Fiction Show On YouTube, Rediff And Mid-Day.com

Disclosure: IMI Mobile is an advertiser with MediaNama