Indiatimes 58888, the mobile division of Times Internet Limited, has acquired the digital rights for Aananda Audio Video (AAV) in Karnataka: with this acquisition, Indiatimes claims to have increased its marketshare in the Kannada mobile music market to 60%. According to the company, Kannada is the largest regional market in mobile music monetization. Ajay Vaishnavi, Director (Telecom) at TIL told MediaNama that they’re working with labels like Akshaya Audio, Skanda Audio, Ashwini and Manoranjan in Karnataka, but with the Aananda Audio Video acqusiition, they’ve now got a dominant share. According to his estimates, regional content accounts for 40-50% of the mobile music market in India, and its importance is increasing as newer customers for telecom operators are primarily from small towns. The ticket size of the regional content, though, is smaller than Bollywood. Indiatimes it looking to acquire content in Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu. Bollywood is dominated by two players – PPL and T-Series (which distributes content through Hungama).
In terms of the distribution of the content, Indiatimes will run the content on its short code 58888, and work with platform partners. Vaishnavi said that the music market on mobile has been growing – it is still dominated by CRBT, but now there is music on demand (mobile radio), embedding on phone and WAP. Indiatimes will do CRBTs directly, Music on Demand with telecom operators, WAP by themselves and handset manufacturers through direct deals.
Readers should note that OnMobile Global was the first platform service provider to get into the content space, and has seen a significant 75.9% increase in its content and royalty expenditure year on year. More details here.