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Eros International shelves TV Network plans to focus on digital

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Production and distribution house Eros International Media has canned its television network plans following investor calls to focus on their digital platform ErosNow, reports the Times of India. The company had earmarked an investment of $50 million in 2012 to set up a movie and music channel and as part of the strategy was looking to buy Bollywood television network B4U.

Eros CEO Kishore Lulla, in a recent analyst call, said that the company has shelved its plans for a TV network at least for a year after a group of shareholders led by UK-based investment firm Knight Assets cautioned against launching a television network, the report read. The TOI report also stated that Knight Assets, which owns about 3% in the company, said that Eros needed to focus more on acquiring customers for its video streaming platform ErosNow.

The company claimed that Eros Now had about 14 million users at the end of the quarter ended March 31. It did not, however, disclose monthly active users and the revenues earned from the digital service. Note, for the March quarter, it seems that Eros International has changed its reporting format and has not disclosed revenues from its digital and ancillary segment. In the preceding quarter the segment earned $36.3 million revenues and accounted for 36.15% of the total revenues.

Eros Now was launched in 2012 and has a number of content tie-ups. It also offers streaming of television shows and also includes TV shows from Zee TV. The company also claims to have a library of more than 2,000 films across multiple Indian languages along with their music rights.

2012 plans for B4U: Earlier in 2012, Eros had announced its plans to acquire 100% control of B4U Television Network. At the time, Eros International held 24% stake in B4U and according to this agreement, Eros International Plc anticipated to acquire the remaining 76% of B4U for a combination of cash and share consideration of $53.1 million (Rs 278 Crores) on or after April 24, 2012. B4U currently operates two television channels – B4U Music, a Bollywood music channel and B4U Movies, a premium Bollywood movie channel.

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Other video-on-demand platforms’ push for original content

– Last week, Internet media company The Viral Fever has launched a new streaming platform called TVFPlay which features the company’s web-series and shows. The company used the new platform to launch its new web-series called Pitchers which focuses on the startup world. Interestingly, at the end of the trailer, TVF says that it will air its episodes of the new show first on the new platform and will upload the same on YouTube a week later.

– In May, YouTube multi-channel network #fame (earlier Famebox Networks) haslaunched a live video streaming app in beta. This app will allow artists/talents to live stream their performances to viewers. The beta app is currently available for both Androidand iOS.

– Earlier this week, Mobile value-added services company Digivive signed a content deal with CA Media Digital’s celebrity digital network, Fluence, to create celebrity-led mobile series on its application, NexGTv. The content deal will have Fluence create and produce original content for nexGTv.

Our take: This move underscores the importance of video platforms to have quality content. We’ve mentioned that content on TV is abysmal at best with mostly interchangeable soaps and carbon copies of reality shows from the West. If the aim is to push for a Netflix-like platform, then video platforms also need to ensure that their content is as good as House of Cards. Perhaps, Eros could also commission more nuanced original series for its platform to attract viewers.

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