Reliance Communications has announced the launch of fables on their voice portal, featuring audio stories based on the tales of Tenali Raman of the Vijayanagara Empire, Panchtantara (animal fables), Vikram aur Betaal, Shri Krishna Bal Leela, among others. The content is being offered to RCOM's GSM and CDMA customers, at a rather steep price of Rs. 3 per minute. This means that it is better for people to just buy the comic and own the content, instead of being licensed listening time - a practice that we believe needs to be changed. But if customers are willing to pay for a transient experience, one can't fault RCOM for providing it. We don't like the practice, that's all. We've been waiting since yesterday for more information from RCOM about who they've sourced this content from: much of the stories are in the public domain, and only their specific narration or imagery attached to it is covered by copyright. So, just about anyone can freely create content related to these themes. The service also gives users the choice of language including English, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Gujarati and Punjabi. Additionally, RCOM is allowing users to convert the content into a caller ringback tone, which is a little strange: I doubt a fable can be narrated in a few seconds. We've seen a spate of service and content announcements from telecom operators over the last year, and I've been wondering - what sticks, and what doesn't? How does the content…
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