Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd
Transforming one of the largest collections of Bollywood media content into a digital streaming platform for a new generation of consumers in south Asia
Building up to become a major content house
As a family-run business, founded in 1962 and headquartered in India, Shemaroo Entertainment has seen a huge change in its principal industry of Bollywood movies over the years.
The company started out as a book circulating library and was the first in India to provide entertainment on tapes when VHS players were introduced in India. Since then, it has developed its business to include rights and distribution, and still supplies DVDs of Bollywood films in India and south Asia.
Around 10 years ago, Shemaroo moved into the digital space. The company’s activities now include content aggregation and ownership, value addition to content, and content distribution. It works with around 50 telecom operators in Asia alone, plus many other digital media platforms.
Shemaroo is engaged in the distribution of content for satellite channels, physical formats and emerging digital technologies such as mobile internet, broadband, IPTV and direct-to-home (DTH) among others.
Over its years in the video-on-demand sector, Shemaroo has accumulated enough content to make it one of the largest holders of integrated media content in India, managing an extensive library of exclusive content spanning over 32,000 hours including almost 3,000 Bollywood film titles. This includes Hindi film classics such as Mughal-e-Azam and Amar Akbar Anthony through new films such as Ishqiya and Slumdog Millionaire and CGI animations such as Bal Ganesh.
Keeping ahead of the digital curve
Explaining the next challenge in the company’s evolution, Ravi Dani, Shemaroo’s Head of Business Development for the UK and North America says: “Shemaroo is one of the largest holders of Bollywood content in the world. Around 10 years ago, we moved into the digital space with the aim of creating new linear channels around Bollywood titles."
“The Bollywood film industry is changing. Whereas audiences are used to flocking to the movie theaters to see their favourite Bollywood actors in the latest blockbuster, now independent movies are becoming more popular and producers are seeing the potential for repeat value by monetizing the sharing of this valuable content online and through other digital channels.
“With such an extensive library and widespread distribution networks, we wanted to be able to make this content available to consumers throughout south Asia and beyond, through our own dedicated channels and via licensed third party providers.“
“We believed that we were ideally placed to pioneer the provision of high quality Bollywood content to an emerging market of consumers who were interested in more of a ‘TV-as-a-service’ model.“
“Our commercial aims were twofold: to explore options for content monetization of our own material and secondly, to reach out to other content owners to enable monetization of their own content.”
OTT technology underpins new strategy
To help it to achieve its business objectives, Shemaroo engaged with SotalCloud, an innovative global provider of OTT online video platform technology for VOD and linear TV, based in Toronto, Canada.
SotalCloud successfully delivered a streaming video network and app for Shemaroo, based on its innovative OTT technology. SotalCloud modified the Shemaroo platform to cater for certain cultural south Asian perspectives, allowing the insertion of pre-rolls or post-rolls, and providing the capability to upscale to a level of quality that can be plugged into major networks.
Ravi Dani continues: “SotalCloud has provided us with a flexible and cost-effective platform that has enabled us to be fleet-footed in terms of our brand and extending it to the rapid creation of new and tailored channels, with key content for consumers who like the musical, travel or comedic aspects of our content, for example."
"We were determined not to create a typical app that would simply offer the same on-demand stuff as other providers. SotalCloud made sure that our solution is a level (or more) above."
A new world of channels
The new online video platform now enables Shemaroo to provide consumers with high quality media content through its own dedicated channels and licensed third party channels for viewing on TVs, online and on mobile platforms.
Ravi Dani explains: “SotalCloud’s technology and high levels of support have enabled us to create our own content channels in just a matter of days. With carriage fees, licenses and other costs associated with providing content to major TV channels, this level of experimentation was not previously viable in financial terms."
“The technology is just so accessible now. We can provide telcos and content owners with a full video streaming service, branded under their own name with targeted content, at a fraction of the previous price.”
Planning for international distribution
“We look forward to developing more bespoke channels and working with third party providers in south Asia and internationally, based on our unrivalled media content.
“The volume of our content means that we can package it up in a professional and sustainable manner to attract other content owners. And, with perpetual rights to this content, we can extract any scenes, music or dialogue from this material."
“We’re looking at distribution agreement with every major telco in India, then extending to the Middle East, south Asia, the UK & US, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and the rest of Europe. Our aim is to create a global distribution network, partnering with organizations to help with distribution in multiple areas and regions."
“We couldn’t have dared to dream all of this without the technology underpinning our model and that is all thanks to the innovation of SotalCloud,” concluded Ravi Dani.