Update: An interesting question from Kushan Mitra: if one can access YouTube’s live streaming on a laptop using a data card, why would they subscribe to the same content via Apalya’s paid subscription service in India? Not really ready for convergence, are we?

(more on subscription vs advertising models below)


Earlier: We knew they were in talks, and now it’s official: Apalya Technologies is the latest to get a piece of the pie, acquiring the global mobile live streaming rights for three years. With July Systems, DCI Mobile and vRock also having received mobile rights, many of our readers have inquired about exactly how some of the rights are split. This is what we’ve ascertained:

— Apalya Technologies: Global mobile live streaming rights for 3 years
— vRock: Official SMS, MMS and IVR partner. We’ve heard rumors of an SMS competition being a key ingredient of their plans, and PhoneyTunes being their partner. Expect the short code to be flashed on screen multiple times during an over.
— DCI Mobile: SmartPhone application partner, with only clip based video content, and ball by ball updates.
— July Systems: powers the official portal http://m.iplt20.com, with Mobile clips for 2.5G/EDGE, excluding smartphones and only for India.

Remember that clips don’t really amount to much, since YouTube Mobile will also allow access to clips that are published on the web. And we hope you’ve seen this weeks Digitoon.

Monetization: Subscription vs Advertising

For an outside observer like me, the interesting piece here is the battle between two business models for mobile content – subscription vs advertising. I remember that when Tinselvision went under, one digital video content distributor had told me that the subscription model is flawed, and advertising supported live streaming is the only way to go. Well, it’s not that advertising supported streaming has worked wonders either – there might be plenty usage, but advertising apparently still isn’t providing enough support. This isn’t over yet.

Mobile is another story: last year Zenga acquired mobile live streaming rights, and apparently didn’t get adequate advertising support. Ravi Kiran, CEO of Starcom Mediavest, contends that it will take 5-8 years for mobile advertising in India to mature, so don’t hold your breath. Is subscription the only way out? Apalya’s trying out subscription, given its distribution agreements with multiple telecom operators on 2G and 3G (BSNL, MTNL), as well as data cards (Tata Photo, Virgin VFlash). It claims to have one million (active?) subscribers.

What is GCVs role?

According to the release, “GCV is the mobile and internet partner of the IPL pursuant to agreements with the World Sports Group (WSG), which made GCV the exclusive sub-licensee of all worldwide internet and mobile video rights.” So it’s just a reseller? Remember that GCV was founded as a joint venture between Live Current Media and NetLinkBlue, who held the rights for season one. We’re not sure of whether NetLinkBlue is involved still, but Live Current Media has exited. GCV is funded by Elephant Capital, and had acquired Willow.tv late last year; though the joke doing the rounds is that Willow.tv acquired GCV, since the Willow.tv founders are believed to be leading the sub-licensing efforts. Willow.tv previously sold subscription based live streaming in the US, in IPL season 1 and 2.

Our IPL 3 Digital Rights Coverage:
– July Systems, Indiagames, GoBindaas Ink IPL 3 Deals; Complete List Of Mobile Partners
Updated: IPL Supports Rights Holders; vRock Bags IPL Mobile Rights
ITV Gets UK Broadcast Rights For IPL 2010; Live Streaming vs YouTube
IPL Global Smartphone App Rights Go To DCI Mobile & Sigma Ventures
BookMyShow To Sell Tickets For IPL 3; What Happened To TicketPro.in?

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Indian Premier League Changes Terms For Digital & TV Coverage