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Get your films on your apps

Swarup Chakraborty  |  Mumbai 

After music on the go, it is time for movie applications (better known as apps) for smartphones. These tiny mobile programmes that you can download from online stores will enable you to access film songs, pre-release videos, lyrics and several other features of a film on the go.

Recently, music company Saregama India created a movie app for Apple devices to market its home production Jhootha Hi Sahi. The app includes photos, videos, songs, lyrics, karaoke and information about the cast and crew of the movie. The company hopes to tap the growing NRI community with this app. “It will help market the movie to an estimated 1 million NRI-owned iphones, ipods and ipads,” says Apurv Nagpal, MD of Saregama. Users need to pay $6 (about Rs 260) per download and Nagpal expects a good response from global Bollywood fans. Saregama isn’t ruling out the possibility of more smartphone apps for its film productions.

Digital media company Hungama has in the past developed games and other apps for digital promotion of movies on the mobile device. “It is an excellent way of publicising a movie by directly connecting with the target group and giving them a first-hand experience of what they may expect from the film,” says Siddharth Roy, COO, Hungama Digital Media. Hungama has created apps for 13 films till now. Since February, after the release of Shahrukh Khan-starrer My Name is Khan, the phenomenon has gained traction in the country, explains Roy.

India, according to Nielsen data, was at number four in mobile-video consumption (even without 3G networks) after Philipines, Indonesia and China. “Demand for instant mobile entertainment continues to grow,” says Gautam Anand, director (content partnerships), Asia Pacific, Google. Google, too, is looking at mobile formats and Bollywood content that can deliver mobile entertainment. Anand acknowledges: “Application and widget stores, and mobile Internet access have taken priority over mobile broadcast.”

BBC World and Al Jazeera English have recently launched apps for consumers to watch real-time news on their iPhones, through a London-based company, Livestation. According to a study by market research and consultancy firm, Research2guidance, smartphone owners worldwide downloaded more than 3.8 billion mobile applications in the first six months of 2010, compared to 3.1 billion in entire 2009. Ticket booking portals, too, have launched a ticket booking application for BlackBerry smartphones. Ashish Hemrajani, founder CEO of Bigtree Entertainment that owns Bookmyshow, says: “The Bookmyshow application for BlackBerry smartphones will provide users an easier option of catching up on the latest in entertainment by booking tickets on the go.”

Centilian, a mobile application development company headquartered in Silicon Valley, California, developed a Bollywood video-streaming app called Bollyhood for the iPhone platform. Bollyhood allows iPhone owners to stream free movie trailers, behind the scene footage, interviews, news, gossip, music videos and other exclusive video content. Centilian is working with Bollywood studios to offer users an engaging platform that brings exclusive video content to their iPhone. Videos from Eros International are already available on the Bollyhood application.

—With inputs from Priyanka Joshi

First Published: Mon, October 11 2010. 03:15 IST