Watching one’s favourite movies at home has always been a favourite with movie lovers, right from the days of the VHS tapes and visits to one’s neighbourhood video libraries. Giving the home movie viewing concept a modern and more convenient twist is the growth of online DVD rentals in India. And driving this growth are players like Moveimart, Seventymm, BIGFlix, Clixflix, Catchflix, and Cinesprite, among others.
The online DVD rental market, pioneered by Netflix in the US, has caught up in a big way in India too. Other factors leading to the popularity of this concept is the availability of high quality DVDs, quick service, wide range of titles, availability of new titles and original picture quality. In fact, industry experts believe that online rentals could also stem piracy or at least seriously challenge it.
Rahul Mansharmani, CEO, MovieMart, pointed out, “The concept of online move rentals has been in the West for long now. In India, it is still new, but is catching on fast. Yhe Indian market has great potential. Piracy has been dominant till now, but will have tough competition.”
He added, “MovieMart delivers within one hour to a maximum of two hours at the customer’s request. We have been present in Delhi, but have gone national from June 4, 2008. We have tied up with TNT Courier Company and will be delivering in 300 cities across India from now on. We will take two days to deliver in cities other Delhi and the NCR, where we are delivering in the shortest possible time.”
“We are not advertising too much at present, just exchanging some links on websites, to create awareness about our services. Instead, we believe more in word-of-mouth and are concentrating to strengthening our services,” Mansharmani further said.
Subhanker Sarkar, COO, Seventymm, said, “With the growth in sales of DVD players, in fact nearly 15 million DVD players are expected to be sold in 2008, online DVD rentals is a great concept and will do really well in India. We have been in the market for two and a half years and will be expanding to more than 10 cities by March 2009 and another 40 cities by the end of 2009.”
“With an ad spend of Rs 8 crore for 2008, we are planning to go 360 degrees. There would be road shows, BTL activities and extensive use of the Internet media and other traditional mass media. Rediffusion DYR Kolkata is handling our account,” Sarkar added.
According to Kamal Gianchandani, COO, BIGFlix, “The current scenario of the online DVD rentals in Indian market is still at a very nascent stage. In the international market, like in the US, the home video market constitutes three times that of the theatre viewing. The trend is yet to catch up with the masses, which will take another three to four years. Also, factors like Internet and broadband penetration need to become stronger to enhance downloads and streaming of movie content to further encourage entertainment consumption in this industry.”
Commenting on the advertising front, Gianchandani said, “We recently launched our maiden mass media campaign pan-India. The media campaign constitutes television, online, radio, print and other mediums like bus shelters, bus backs, mobile vans and hoardings in 10 cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Indore and Ahmedabad. We have alliances with leading retail chains and will continue to look for more to widen our customer base across all cities. The alliances could be local, regional and national, depending on the nature of the business.”
“Online marketing is one of the significant mediums of marketing. Moreover, since we are in the online business, online marketing forms a very crucial part of our marketing strategy. We do display advertising on leading high traffic portals and search engines targeting NRIs and the Indian population as well. Also, we engage in synergies with the other companies in Reliance BIG Entertainment like Bigadda.com and Zapak.com to enhance our user base with the audience accessing such websites,” he added.
Gianchandani further said, “We also plan to do affiliate marketing soon. Other online marketing initiatives include blogging, which is a fast growing and an inevitable web marketing tool today, to create the right awareness about our brand and services.”