Home Video cos tap alternative content to expand market

Mumbai: At a time when physical sales of film DVDs and VCDs may not be raking in the required moolah, home video companies are now exploring the possibility of alternative content.

In a sense this more recent foray of home video players in this new section expands the already existing market, considering that till date it has only been film related products that have been sold on these formats. Companies like Shemaroo Entertainment, Big Home Video and Excel Home Video Entertainment have already begun exploring the avenues.

The meaning of such a move by home video players indicates that there is a possibility of exploring this space further and perhaps a more streamlined revenue source exists within this sub market. Since this new sub market will not result in the cannibilisation of the existing film related home video segment, it will mean that the prospect of new consumers interested in alternative content will and can be explored.

Speaking to Businessofcinema.com Shemaroo Entertainment vice president Hiren Gada said, "With the increased player penetration and acceptance, we think that the audience is now ready to move beyond films on home video. So we thought of the segment of alternative content. This includes everything from edutainment to health, fitness, spiritual and even cookery."

If this new wave of introducing alternative content pays off, it could mean a bout of new life to the home video market. In a sense it is a rational move by home video players to explore the avenue of alternative content, as it is only the next obvious step. Opining the same Excel Home Video Entertainment CEO Roby Abraham said, "Such content has always been available. Remember in the VHS days the fitness videos were a rage and were doing really well. This is just being introduced in India now. It is but a natural step."

Looking at this exploration it can be said that the players attain a sense of completeness and provide a gamut of options. However, what remains to be seen is if there’s revenue in such exploration, since no analysis of the market size or estimated growth is available.

Gada added, "Seeing if this segment is profitable to a desired level is still to be explored. For us it is less than six months old and we have hardly any products in the market, so to that extent it is hard to say. We started this as an initiative to broaden the market. I don’t know where the market will be and size of it, but it is a good segment to be in."

Alternative content is acquired at a cheaper rate than most film content is, however since this sub market is new and is still being explored, so are the returns. The lack of promotion and dumping of such content in short frequency of time further hampers the kind of revenue this segment stands to make. But soon that stands to change with planned efforts being made by companies like Shemaroo and Big Home Video.

While some of the content is lapped up instantly, some still rest well on the stands, boiling down to the age old cliché ‘good content sells.’ Validating it, Abraham said, "Sometime back we released a series of Discovery Channel videos, the business we did with that was not that great. But then on the other hand we did the same for videos of the BBC Series, which did really well."

Gada added, "The response is bound to be mixed; everything doesn’t sell or is not that big. While some do good business, some are not so good. But then even in the film category, films typically have a have a spurt sale for a few months when it is released and then capers down because another film comes up."

With no actual reports on market growth, size and prospect, one needs to find out the kind of revenues that this content is making for the players. This would further aid in ascertaining if in reality this is a good segment to be in and is worth exploring. While on one hand completeness is attained, profitability and long term revenue is still an aspect of which very little is known.

In the coming months one will see content like Rhyme Time in Toyland, Shelly Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre Premchand’s works like Kafan being launched by Shemaroo. On the other hand, a few other players are still calculating their entry into this new segment and acquiring the right kind of content.