Travel entertainment startup PressPlay has tied up with North Western Railway to provide its passengers video on demand services during train journeys. As of now, the feature is live on Delhi Bikaner Intercity (22471 up & 22472 down) and Chetak Express (12981 up & 12982 down), with plans to extend it to 30 trains in the coming quarter.
The service lets users connect to its WiFi in the train, from where users can download movies and other content to watch on the go. The company will install PressPlay hotspots in AC coaches of the train for users to remain connected. Passengers can stream locally via these hotspots, without using mobile data. However, the company also lets users watch live channels and trending videos etc., in case a 3G/4G connection is available.
As of now the service is free to use, although it’s likely supported by ads. The company mentions that videos are downloaded locally by the app, so users can continue to watch the content even after de-boarding the train and are out of the WiFi range. However, it’s not clear for how long users can keep the content. As of now, the company claims to have over 2,500 hotspots across the country in buses, hospitals, hotels, bus and trains stations etc.
Founded in December 2013 by Anand Sinha and George Abraham, PressPlay had raised $500,000 in funding from a group of unnamed angel investors in August 2014. The company previously offered passengers travelling on long-distance buses tablets pre-loaded with entertainment content, before pivoting to an app only model.
Fropcorn at airports: Earlier this month, Mumbai-based entertainment company Fropcorn launched a similar service at the Hyderabad International airport, although users would have to pay for each movie. The company said then that it planned to launch access points at other airports and high footfall location, although it did not provide a timeline for this.
MediaNama’s take: PressPlay’s take on being a mobile streaming should be useful to users for avoiding wasting data when travelling and accessing content when out of coverage area. Establishing data centres on each train is going to be pretty expensive and as such, we expect the service will remain somewhat niche, and only see it on some of the popular trains.