MTS India, the mobile telecom service brand of Sistema Shyam TeleServices has partnered with content provider Shotz7 to launch an online movie streaming service ‘MTS Movies’, reports The Economic Times. The service will let its customers stream and watch movies for free.
The company is aiming to grow the data consumption on its network. And this isn’t its first attempt at doing so. Last year it released MTS mAd which allows users to make free local calls by watching mobile ads. In 2010, MTS launched MTS TV, a service that allows its users to watch over 100 Live TV and Video on Demand (VoD) channels over its network. The company had then waived its data plans to attract more users. In 2012, it launched MTS Video Bites, an Android app that offered video on demand.
In September 2013, it partnered with Shemaroo Entertainment to launch iDivine, a devotional service that allowed MBlaze subscribers to watch live and recorded video darshans of temples, Dargahs, Gurudwaras and churches.
For the content for MTS Movies, the company has inked a deal with Shotz7, an independent short films aggregator in India. It provides a platform to professional and aspiring film-makers to showcase their work to a wider audience. MTS India has initiated a 72-hour film-making contest for film-makers in India. The winners will be picked by a jury featuring film-makers such as Anurag Basu, Shoojit Sircar, and Tinnu Anand amongst others.
Moreover this isn’t the first time a telecom carrier has offered its subscribers an on-demand movie service. In 2012 Reliance Communications partnered with BigFlix to offer movies for just Rs 30 per title. Bigflix also has a deal with Airtel to provide on-demand movies to its subscribers. Last month, cable TV and broadband internet provider Hathway partnered with Eros Now to launch “Broadband Movies”. The movie subscription service will be free to all the Hathway customers for 2 months.
Similarly, Vodafone also offers live TV channel streaming. The service offers channels like Times Now, NDTV, AAJTAK, National Geographic, Discovery, SONY TV, SAB TV, STAR ONE, STAR TV and Cartoon Network on several daily, weekly and monthly plans.
Nikhil adds: For MTS, there are two primary benefits here: since it is free, the monetization will come through data consumption, which means that the service will not work via WiFi. Other means of monetization could include provisioning of premium content and/or advertising, for which MTS might want to incentivise the usage of its own service over others. One has to keep an eye out for net neutrality issues here. Will MTS and other telecom operators deprecate delivery of other online web streaming services in order to improve the performance of its own service, whether due to limited bandwidth or competitive reasons? More on our coverage of net neutrality issues here.