Zee Group Voddler

Asia Today (Mauritius), a wholly owned subsidiary of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) is forming a joint venture with the Stockholm based video on demand provider Voddler Group and has obtained an in-principle approval from the company board for this initiative, the company has disclosed in its earnings results for the quarter ending September 30, 2013.

It has committed $5 million investment for this joint venture and plans to develop a proprietary storage and streaming technology which will enable the distribution of its video on demand service (Ditto TV) on a large scale in the International market. Note that Ditto TV is currently available worldwide including markets like United States, UK, UAE, New Zealand, Australia and others.

VoddlerNet: Voddler has developed a patented streaming solution VoddlerNet which is based on a server-less peer to peer distribution system. This essentially means that when users are watching a movie on Voddler, the company is not streaming it directly from their own servers, rather it is streamed from other Voddler customers who have finished watching the movie. Voddler says this system allows them to keep the server costs down and show ad-funded movies with lesser ads This is critical because server costs is one of the largest expenditure involved in running a video on demand service.

The service asks users to download a VoddlerNet-application when they watch a movie for the first time on the service. This application then caches parts of a movie on the user’s hard disk and distributes it to other users. However, the company notes that content owners will have full control over which content is available to users and at what times.

Besides this, Voddler also offers two services – LiveShelf and ViewShare, powered by VoddlerNet. LiveShelf is a video streaming service which allows users to purchase or rent movies from Voddler’s content partners while ViewShare allows users to create a limited group of friends and family (max 10 people) and legally share viewing rights of content purchased. One can also pay a specific monthly free to view the movies shared by their friends.

This joint venture will possibly allow Ditto TV to adopt a similar mechanism for streaming content to its subscribers. Currently, it offers live TV streams and video on demand content on mobile phones, tablets, Windows and Mac desktops, entertainment boxes and connected TVs.

MirriAd Investment: Earlier this year, ZEE and Asia Today had invested £3.6 million in digital ad company MirriAd. The company had then said that it plans to use the investment raised to deploy its services in India and other Asian markets on broadcast, cable and satellite medium. MirriAd currently offers a platform for TV channels which analyses content, creates inventory and allows channels to place products in the video.