t-series-hungama-bigReliance BIG Entertainment has entered into a strategic alliance with T-Series and Hungama Digital Media; Vinod Bhanushali, President, Marketing Media Publishing (TV) for T-Series told MediaNama that while the content will be co-owned by the three, but the exploitation of the BIG Music catalogue will exclusively be with T-Series, and through T-Series, digital distribution rights (to Internet, mobile and IPTV) will be with Hungama. We’re particularly intrigued by the use of the word ‘co-own’ in the announcement: has a joint venture between the three which owns the rights to the content? Hungama has declined to comment on the specifics of the deal, and we’ve sent another request for clarification.

Hungama & Ownership of Content

To us, the term ‘co-own’ implies that BIG Entertainment has sold its content to the consortium. For Hungama, this appears to be the first major acquisition of content, and a step up the value chain: it isn’t just distributing the content, but will have partial ownership of future content from the consortium. We’re still awaiting inputs from Hungama on how co-ownership has been established.

A Familiar Story

The licensing of rights to T-Series, and through them, to Hungama, is becoming a familiar story now: the might of the distribution network established by them on both the physical and digital side certainly appears to be becoming more and more influential in the music business. Hungama already has signed on Yash Raj Films, UTV New Media and Eros Entertainment; as Amit Khanna, Chairman, Reliance Big Entertainment put it, “We, at BIG Music, are delighted with this association and look forward to leveraging the fantastic network built by Hungama Mobile & T-Series to take our music to consumers all over the world.”

One could even interpret that statement as “make more money for us than we could have by ourselves.” From Bollywood, it just appears to be primarily Saregama with their massive catalog of historical music content holding out. Also note that OnMobile don’t appear to have stepped up the game on the content side after their SIMCA deal.

BIG Music’s catalogue consists of albums such as Cash, Johnny Gaddar, Rock On, Luck By Chance alongside artists such as Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and singers such as A. R. Rahman, Adnan Sami, Alka Yagnik and more. As per the agreement, all future music releases of Reliance Big Music (under Reliance Big Pictures) will be distributed through T-Series and Hungama.

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