At IAMAI Digital Entertainment – Entertainment on Mobile

The 4th and final panel of the IAMAI Digital Entertainment Conference held at Mumbai this week was on mobile entertainment.

The panelists included:

  • Viren Popli – Sr. Vice President & Head-Mobile Entertainment, Star India
  • Probir Roy – Co founder & Director, Coruscant Tec
  • Manoj Dawane – Chief Executive Officer, Mauj Telecom
  • Srinivas Gopal – General Manager Marketing, Idea
  • Salil Bhargava – CEO, Jump Games


viren popliViren Popli – Sr. Vice President & Head-Mobile Entertainment, Star India

The Convenience Factor

All devices spoken so far did not have the C in it. i.e. the convenience and the other advantage is that it is the most penetrated device in India today.

Mobile gets the leftovers’s
No one is creating content for Internet and Mobile – Internet is living off left overs from the TV and print space and adding incremental revenue. Similarly with star we are creating content for TV. When we say that mobile and internet is going to take users away from TV and print then those in TV and print wont engage in internet and mobile content creation. We need to talk instead of incremental revenue. Also this business is nascent as the revenue share is still nominal at 3-5 rupee price point for millions of users on mobile.

Size of the video on the average phone is as good as the youtube size now and the size of the screen wont matter rather than the usability of the device. In 2-3 years there will be 1000+ channels but how do you deliver this given that DTH can screen only 200 channels.

On 3G in India
Im counting on GPRS costs dropping after 3G comes in.

probirProbir Roy – Co-Founder, Coruscant Tec

Its taken vas 10 years to hit 1B$ it will take 2 years to hit the next billion. India will skip the fixed line model.

Entertainment content will be a key driver of mobile revenues

Anything to do with entertainment in India will be big. VAS driver will be entertainment.

Not Happy with Industry structure

Im not happy with the industry structure and thats why I sold my company to Mukta arts because it helped me go directly to operator. Thats why we did backward integration and tied up with a content provider. So if I lock myself with the source of content which has not been sold on mobile in the last 20 years things are better when approaching an operator.

manoj dawaneManoj Dawane – CEO, Mauj Telecom

On Applications that make sense on Mobile
Most of us talk about what will go on the bearer. Is there an app engaging enough for user and monetizable for advertisers and can attract enough users for operators? Mankind is intrigued by classified like property, matrimony and cars. Even the online has seen successes in these verticals. Can someone build a mobile app around these and build in the numbers?

On Telecom networks and their role in VAS
Content is produced not for a medium but for human beings and a target market. I believe that telecom networks actually act as sachet’s for delivering content in form of ringtones or gprs downloads. VAS of yesterday is commodity of today and VAS of today will be of commodity of tomorrow.
Dissemination of content that telecom networks do is an opportunity for a google for mobile.

On 3G in India
UK went 3g in 2002 and 6 players paid 52 million $ and 3 sold their licences to others. I have a feeling that 3G will be used for voice. As india is a bandwidth starved country spectral efficiency will be used for the first killer app i.e. voice.


Srinivas Gopal -  General Manager Marketing VAS, Idea Mobile

Voice is a large market for india and entertainment is consumed despite bearer. We have done rajshri audiosodes and there is a demand for audio content and we have seen good traction on the same.

In japan mobile gaming is very high due to NTT DoCoMo and pc gaming is big in korea due to cyworld Cyber worlds. May be we need a list of what India is playing. Gaming needs to be promoted by celebrities in order to increase adoption.

We are in advanced stages of discussions with news agencies to provide alerts in marathi for commodity prices.

salil bhargavaSalil Bhargava – CEO, Jump Games

iPhone Impact

A positive trend is that mobile gaming is showing signs of picking up. Trivia based games for non color phones. In terms of Mmorpg its a long way away. Globally online and mobile gaming the line is blurring. Convergence is being compounded by iPhone from a content perspective.

We are not a Gaming Country. And early games sucked!

Connective gaming in India is tictactoe. Casual gaming is what will do well in India. Mmorpg wont do well that early on the mobile side. Gaming took off on the wrong foot in India as gaming players focus on number of games and not quality or experience of gaming. Most of those games were junk. For a user that was a terrible experience and I have finished a game in 1 1/2 minutes and there were 1000′s of such games and many of them on random bollywood movies.

On Licensing for games
Licensing is still a big part of this biz.. for eg if i put out a salil bhargava football game no one wil buy it. Its hard to build an ip and hence it needs to be a manchester united game.

We are clearly not competing with the console. In india for it to be a viable business we are still a few of years. iPhone is a paradigm shift as far as mobile gaming is concerned. The istore is doing more revenues than any operator. When will impact in India be felt? I think it is a very long time away.

Q & A
Probir questions
If 3G is used for voice and at current price points for voice would it justify the capex for setting up 3G network.

Manoj answers – If I were an operator i would provide premium services for voice on 3G for the corporate.

Viren Popli – You could very possibly see post paid customer gets shifted to 3G and the pre paid stays on 3G.

Srinivas – The killer app for 3G is ugc video and video conferencing. I dont completely agree with Manoj.

Audience – IN UK 3G has driven on deck activity by Orange which had 5 tv channels for 800 rupees for 20 mins. There has been very little off deck activity.

All in all this session was possibly the best in the day with interesting insights from all participants and contradicting views on what will happen when 3G comes in.

2 Responses to “At IAMAI Digital Entertainment – Entertainment on Mobile”

  1. Iamai Zzzz
    November 20, 2008 at 8:56 am #

    IAMAI reminds me of sleep! Thats how monotonous and repetitive the sessions at IAMAI have become.. These guys really need to get innovative before they start calling themselves the industry body for internet and mobile which itself is supposed to be the most innovative segment

  2. irfan
    November 20, 2008 at 8:57 am #

    I read all the iamai posts. And rohit-zapak says Gaming isn’t nascent in India and salil-jump game says India is not a gaming country. Are they talking about same india?

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