On September 15th 2009, British Telecom is launching Bolly & Beyond, a Bollywood focused video on demand service on its Hybrid TV service BT Vision. Bolly & Beyond is being provided by virtue of a tie-up with distributor Shemaroo Entertainment, and will be priced at GBP 6.85 a month.
Accordingto Broadcast Now, an exclusive five year deal has been struck for the content, though no explanation of the term “exclusive” has been provided – whether Shemaroo isn’t free to tie up with other digital services, or is BT not allowed to bring other content providers on board. The latter appears less likely. The service will launch with 200 hours of content, and be managed by Endemol backed digital distributor MoMedia. Some of the content being provided include TV shows like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, films like Singh Is Kinng and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and Shilpa Shetty’s Yoga. We’d first heard of BT Vision planning a Bollywood focused video on demand initiative back in 2007.
Interestingly, BT Vision is a hybrid TV service, which provides Freeview (free to air) channels via a decoder for digital terrestrial transmission, which requires an antenna, and on-demand content like films, TV programmes and sports events via a broadband line. Users need to get a BT phone line, Broadband and TV package, set up an antenna for Freeview coverage. The hybrid set top box called Vision+Box allows up to 80 hours of recording, and has a 60 GB hard drive.