Interview

Delivering On-Demand Mobile Entertainment – Content Over Mobile : B. Vamshi Reddy and Shiva Bayyapunedi, Co-Founders and Directors of Apalya Technologies

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“We enable the TV channel content providers to move on to the mobile platform basically. They are on the traditional media, mobile is a new media, so, we help them to move on to the mobile platform. At the same time, we work with the mobile operators on the integration and taking them to the market”, says B. Vamshi Reddy, Co-Founder and Director, Apalya Technologies in an interview with egov magazine

Tell us about the vision and mission of Apalya Technologies Pvt Ltd.

Apalya Technologies is the leading provider of services on the Mobile TV platform. Apalya aggregates premium entertainment content from many different content providers, and then optimises the content to be suitable for small screen or mobile viewing. Apalya’s unique technology works on delivering the best possible mobile entertainment experience based on the type of the device and the kind of network being used.

Apalya’s roadmap includes producing mobile exclusive programming and personalized entertainment into the hands of a mobile user. Apalya’s Mission is to enable telecom companies and content owners to offer Interactive, collaborative, on demand news and entertainment in an optimised and cost effective way through the Mobile TV platform.

What is the strategy and roadmap followed by your company to bring Informative    entertainment into the hands of mobile users in an optimised and cost effective way?

One of the key things that we are doing is when we talk of entertainment, we are providing  services mostly on mobile video platform. Within this space we are beginning lot of video  content, which are very costly. If we look at today’s world it is expensive to watch any video  content on the phone. The way we are bringing this in a cost effective way is, we are  partnering strategically with all the operators, to see if we drive adoption just like the  Internet adoption happened. There would not be any data usage charges or anything like that, it is more like unlimited usage. The user will pay a fl at monthly subscription fee and  can view whatever they want. This is how we plan to bring the entertainment in the hands of the user in a cost effective manner.

What are the different services provided by Apalya in the fi eld of media and  entertainment related services in the mobile space?

Right now, we focus mainly on mobile video, that is where our specialty is. Within the video  space, we have live TV content as well as on-demand content also. The fi rst product we have  is mobile TV, which we have launched with Airtel and Idea (mobile operators), commercially  live across all the 12 areas of Idea. We are also talking with other leading operators and will be  deploying in the next few months. But our primary product is mobile video, the users will  be able to watch live TV which is deferred by 5 to 10 minutes and you can catch upon all your  favourite programmes, which you might have missed out on your mobile phone itself.

You are partnering with various mobile operators and television channel operators, Could you brief more about how do you work?

Basically we are a solution provider. What we do is, we actually provide the technology, the  platform, integration and maintenance solution. We enable the TV channel content providers  to move on to the mobile platform basically. They are on the traditional media, mobile is a  new media, so, we help them to move on to the mobile platform. At the same time, we work  with the mobile operators on the integration and taking them to the market. That is how we  play an intend role. All the tie-ups we have with all the leading channels and mobile operators  within India, are to get the content from them and we process it and make it   suitable for the mobile viewing.

Please provide an outline of the key trends in India in the mobile broadcast TV sector.

Mobile TV broadcasting is little different. Lots of emerging technologies are available in the  mobile TV space. Like Doordarshan has DVB-H, which is more on the broadcasting, but our  technology is more on unicasting, it does not fall in the broadcasting space, and broadcasting  has to go a long way. We are talking about the handsets which are capable to receive the  broadcast, then there is a terrestrial broadcast issue. Doordarshan has the rights for  terrestrial broadcasting, no one else has the rights. There are lot of issues on that space. So,  you cannot view any other channels. The devices has to have the antennas and transmitters built-in to the phone. These phones are not in the market and those available in the market   are very highly priced. So, mobile TV broadcasting has to go a long way to mark market. The unicasting technology, the solution which we are providing has more interactive and on-demand services.

How is the mobile broadcast TV subscription growth in India, as compared to the other countries in Asia and in the West?

If you look at the mature market, most of them are 3G and higher and if we look at India, it is only 2.5G. If we look at the typical Indian market, it is not ready for video technology and  even data content. But at the same time, people living in metros have already the access and  the technology has reached 99 per cent of the people. They are looking for more value added  services like watching TV and video-on-demand. I think that we have opportunity, as 3G comes these services will pick up more.

Please tell us about some of the barriers to the adoption for mass adoption for mobile broadcast TV in the emerging markets?

As I said earlier, the key barriers are: from the telecom side we need much more bandwidth  which is either going to be 3G or higher. If you look at the DVB-H per se, the barriers are, the  terrestrial rights are with Doordarshan, even if you have the DVB-H, you can not watch other  than Doordarshan. The other barrier is pricing of the mobile handsets itself, even though the new mobile sets are coming in, it would take a minimum of 3 to 5 years to reach  the mass market and fully adoptable.

Where do you see the future of content over mobile platform globally, and what  will be the cutting edge technologies that will drive the growth of the industry?

I think defi nitely, mobile video is the one. Everyone knows that mobile video is going to be a  big thing. Just the spectrum needs to be opened up and the bandwidth needs to available.  From the content standpoint, I think that people are willing to watch content with 3 to 5  minutes of duration on their mobile phone not more than that. I think people would also like to  watch, what they want to watch rather than what is being shown to them. So, there is a clear cut difference between the broadcast and on-demand. Here we are basically talking  about what are the shows people want to watch and what are the things he wants to capture.  So, the content is more around what people demand and user generated and of less duration  say around 3 to 5 minutes.

What are some of your future plans in the area of content over mobile phones?

We pretty much have all the leading channels from the TV standpoint. We are looking at  other mobile exclusive contents. Lot of third party content developers are developing mobile  exclusive contents and we are planning to bring that kind of content in our platform. We also  plan to bring more user generated contents.

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