Updated with comments and clarifications from Samir Bangara, COO of Indiagames, below.
Earlier: UTV Indiagames has inked a deal with mobile video app Zenga TV, to distribute Zenga’s mobile video streaming service across telecom operators. As per the agreement, the two will deploy live TV and archived video content including television shows, blockbuster movies, comics, interesting short films as well as international music videos, across all network operators in India. It appears that Zenga is providing the platform, while Indiagames will ink content and telecom operator relationships. A few things unusual about this deal, in our opinion:
– Why does Zenga need Indiagames for Telco Partnerships? Zenga is in a market where the on-deck space (the one that makes money) is dominated by Apalya Technologies. With 3G services launched, and the video push not yet begun, Zenga would be desperate to get into the game. Its other competitor: PlayTV, from the Zee TV-Geodesic joint venture. Zenga is best known for taking a punt on IPL’s mobile streaming rights in 2009, which were taken by Apalya the following year, and for something of a rebuke regarding mobile advertising. Typically, IPL mobile streaming rights should help with telco deals, but this appears to be a platform deal.
Update: Samir Bangara, COO of Indiagames says that Zenga has strong relationships with OEM’s, and don’t have much of an operator interface, which is where Indiagames comes in, with platform deployments with operators. The partnership had piloted Colors, for which Zenga has an exclusive license, on Vodafone. The two have also done UTV Bindass live streaming together. Both entities will aggregate content, and go to market jointly.
– Why is Indiagames fronting video partnerships at UTV? Indiagames, best known for developing and distributing games, has also been distributing content like wallpapers and ringtones for a while: in this partnership, it appears that Indiagames will be sourcing content, while Indiagames, with long established telecom operator relationships, will handle the telco deals. But shouldn’t UTV New Media, which recently hired digital video content specialist Sameer Pitalwalla as Head of 3G Business, be looking at the video partnerships, instead of Indiagames? There appears to be an overlap.
Update: Bangara says that it doesn’t have to be an either-or binary situation: UTV Broadcasting is the IP owner, and for Zenga, they’ll go with Indiagames, and are free to tie up with other platforms (namely Apalya) if they want.