Saavn, an online music streaming service, will be launching music videos on its platform by middle of next year, according to a report by The Hindu Business Line. The company also plans to introduce Bollywood movies on its platform in next two years.
Speaking to the publication, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Vinodh Bhat said that Saavn plans to digitize around 60,000 Bollywood movies and make them available to consumers by 2015 to 2016. Before digitizing the movies, it will work on licensing agreements with Bollywood production companies. It’s not clear whether the agreement would allow Saavn with exclusive licensing deal as they will be taking all the effort to digitize the movies or the production house can license the digitized movies to other service providers as well.
It appears that Saavn wants to provide an overall Bollywood experience on its platform. If Saavn is able to digitize and get license agreement to offer movies and music videos on its platform, Saavn will directly compete with Times Internet*, which owns BoxTV and Gaana.com, BigFlix, Spuul and Hungama, which offers songs and videos on its app. It will also compete with Google’s video streaming site YouTube, which is currently more popular among music labels. However, monetization on YouTube depends on advertisements.
What needs to be seen is whether consumers would stream music videos through its app. Data bandwidth and cost still remains a major issue in the country, however, the situation might improve in two years time. Previously, Saavn had partnered with Indian telco Tata DOCOMO to offer music-oriented data plans to its 2G and 3G prepaid GSM subscribers. At the time of writing this article, it’s not clear whether it also offers access to Saavn Pro or Saavn Lite premium subscription plans with the data plans. Saavn had launched its premium subscription service offering ad-free experience to users and allows them to cache songs up to 3GB for offline listening called Saavn Pro for Rs Rs 220 per month (India users). While its Saavn Lite subscription service which offers ad-free service and 1GB caching of songs for offline listening is available for Rs 110 per month. Bhat also informed the publication that Saavn gets around 11 million users per month, out of which two-third are in India.
Video streaming would require more bandwidth and we believe Saavn will have to partner with Indian telcos to offer cost efficient data plans to its consumers if it wants users to utilize its video streaming service. Recently, Airtel had launched a new service allowing its subscribers to download music videos for Re 1. Interestingly, the service allows users to browse through the catalog for free and pay only for the music video downloads (Re 1) which makes the service very affordable.
Saavn’s competitor Dhingana also plans to offer its premium subscription service, Dhingana Gold, on Android through mobile operator billing.
*Disclosures may apply. Click here for more.