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#TiECon Delhi 2009: Rajesh Sawhney On Media & Digital Businesses, BigFlix & BigAdda


Speaking at a Guru session at TiE Con Delhi 2009, Reliance Entertainment President Rajesh Sawhney said that for the film Rock On, 50%  of the revenue came from Mobile. Of the remaining, 30% came from broadcast (radio and television), 15.5% came from performing acts, and only 10-15 % came from physical CDs. Excerpts from Sawhney’s talk:

On BIGFlix

“We’re focusing on future ready, broadband centric, youth centric business models. We bet on 3 things – the first is Online and Mobile Gaming. The second business (BigFlix) is around the theme of video, which operates in 10 cities. One dimension is movie rental, second is broadband consumption of video. To my surprisealmost 15-20% of our business is coming from our broadband business (video streaming), which I was expecting by 2012. We’re getting decent broadband support.”

On BIGAdda

“Last bet was on social networking – BigAdda, which has scaled up, but facing advertising pressures. While it has consumption, it’s still struggling to sell itself meaningfully.

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On User Generated Content & Creating Content For Internet & Mobile

Responding to a question on user generated content:  “I do not envisage UGC to undermine the viabiltiy and potency of a large movie project, like the one created by Spielberg. The challenge is of creating a multiplier effect on content. If you’re talking about creating content only for the web…you have to understand the viability of the medium and the reach. A lot of companies are focusing on mobile content, because people are beginning to use mobile for content consumption.”

On TV & FM

The era of high TRPs is over. “There was a time, years ago, when cricket matches used to have a TRP of 25. Today, no match crosses 5. Media & Entertainment has grown and fragmented, and this year there has been contraction in TV. Some channels have shut down. Advertising in the last year stagnated and contracted, and the ripple effect was felt by broadcasters. There are yield pressures. Notwithstanding that, subscription is growing. DTH is almost touching 15 million, from 8 million last year. Many new homes are going digital. In Broadcast, 50% of revenues are from advertising and 50% from subscription. There’s a challenge there – that most of the (subscription) revenue doesnt follow through to the broadcaster. In that sense, we’re witnessing a constant value sharing/fight for value between content producers.”

“FM has been about listening to in cars, but 40-50% of listener-ship is happening on the mobile.”

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On The Movie Business & Globalization

“Our biggest investment has been in the filmed entertainment space. Indian companies cannot run away from global competition. In movie business, all companies face competition from global competition. Should I become regional, or go global? We decided to go global. But then there is always a huge amount of localization within globalization. The government might prevent globalization, like in case of radio and newspaper businesses.

At times, things cannot be addressed by global taste. 95% of music consumed on cellphones in India is superlocal, not just local. 95% of theatrical collection in India is from Indian movies. The third paradigm is that unlike many other industries, there are 2 sources – subscription and distribution. Different parts of the industry have different mix. The newspaper industry is driven primarily through advertising, and more susceptible to it.”

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