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Star aims to shape the future of entertainment on mobile screen
MUMBAI: Expect Star India to shape the future of entertainment on a mobile screen. First to move forward is sports content. Next will follow entertainment content.
As a first big step in this direction, Star has tied up with telecom major Vodafone India to strengthen its digital footprint in sports. The two companies have created a multi-sports offering, ‘Vodafone Sports’ portal, on Vodafone Live. This service works on both smartphones and feature phones and will offer content from different sports.
Live matches as well as specially curated content will be pay while things like highlights will be free. As a result of the tie-up with Star, customers using Vodafone Sports will have access to what the parties call legal, unadulterated content at their fingertips, including all the latest news, trivia, scores and results, instant access to live matches, interactive video scorecards, insight and analysis, columns, photos and wallpapers across sports.
The interactive video scorecard, for example, will allow users to watch the fall of a wicket or replay individual innings highlights for a particular player right from the scorecard. So if you miss a pivotal, game-changing moment in a game, or a match-winning knock, you can replay it at the touch of a button.
Apart from live games, customers will also be able to sample additional archived video content, such as the best of M.S. Dhoni’s sixes or Sachin’s straight drives, created from over 10,000 hours of cricket footage. There are different pricing plans as well to afford the consumers various choices.
Initially, action from cricket, hockey and soccer will be offered. Then the service will expand to other sports like F1 and tennis.
Star India COO Sanjay Gupta said, “Our ambition is to the shape the future of entertainment on a mobile screen; sports is the first big initiative for us. starsports.com has already set a new standard for sports fans hungry to consume sports without being tied to their television. This partnership will bring the power of our service to a whole new audience.”
Star’s next big game will be to push entertainment content. “Going forward, we will look at bringing our entertainment content also on the mobile. We first want to see the traction that our sports content gets,” Gupta revealed.
Initially, the content will be ad free and will include the Indian Premier League. “This is a big move for us. We want consumers to consume more of sports and so far consumption has been restricted to the television screen. However, we see content consumption on the mobile and other devices doubling in the coming five to 10 years. Our aim is for sports content to reach everyone. We also believe that curated content needs to have a destination,” Gupta explained.
For Gupta, sports makes sense as the first genre to test the mobile arena in a big way because consumers who consume content on the mobile are mostly young males. That is the same TG that mostly consume sports. “However, things will change in the coming three years. Already we are seeing older women coming on Facebook,” Gupta said.
Gupta feels there is a lot of growth potential in India for content consumption through mobile and other new media devices. With most Indian homes having just one television set, the need becomes more glaring.
“If the person in charge of the remote is watching say Star World and there is a cricket match going on at the same time, then how can somebody else watch it? This is where devices will come into play. The fact is that in India people consume video content for only 2.5 hours a day while in markets like the UK and US it is five to six hours a day,” Gupta explained.
How big is the revenue potential from Star’s digital business? “It is hard for me to put a figure on how much digital will contribute to our business in the coming three years. However, the size of the overall digital business in the country is Rs 3000 crore (Rs 30 billion) in terms of advertising. In terms of subscription, it is a Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion) business,” Gupta said.
In terms of the willingness of people to pay, he said many people at this moment expect content online to be free. But gradually premium content will get segmented. “Our service initially will be used by people in the large cities who own smartphones. But thereafter the service will rapidly percolate to the smaller towns and cities. Our service will grow through word of mouth,” said Gupta.
The key element, though, is pricing. Vodafone India chief commercial officer Vivek Mathur said that pricing has to be attractive for people to pay. “We have a snack pricing plan, an ‘all-you-can eat’ pricing plan, and a subscription plan.”
Will Star have an exclusive arrangement with Vodafone? “There are no plans for now to tie up with other mobile service providers. Telecom operators have challenges of their own and right now they are not paying enough attention to data and content consumption. Vodafone, on the other hand, saw the opportunity and we share a common vision,” Gupta averred.
The advantage that a Vodafone user has vis-à-vis consumers of other mobile service providers who access starsports.com is that one will not need to download an app if one is a Vodafone customer.
“Convenience is the big advantage that Vodafone users will have. It changes the experience,” Gupta said.
Mathur added, “The launch of Vodafone Sports is an industry first initiative to bring across the best of premium live and curated sports content blended with immersive interactive platform and content-delivery. Following the launch of Vodafone Music few months ago, it complements our strategy to expand our digital offering and tailor it to mobile internet users who are increasingly consuming content on the go.”
Customers can avail Vodafone Sports by visiting live.vodafone.in/sports or sending a simple text message <SPORTS> to 111. Vodafone Sports powered by Star Sports is available in attractive price plans specially tailor-made for user experience.
SNACK PRICING PLAN
‘ALL YOU CAN EAT’ PRICING PLAN
|·Watch a match at Rs. 10/Rs. 20
·Watch a video clip at Rs. 3 /Rs. 5
· Adorn your home-screen with Cricket wallpapers at Rs. 3
|·Sign up for an individual series at Rs. 49/Rs. 99/Rs. 150
·Watch archived video clips (e.g. Sachin’s best knocks) at Rs. 30/Rs. 50
|· Rs. 5 a day
· Rs. 150 a month