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New York - South Asian video content for regional and global digital media distribution

Within a couple of months two new platforms were announced which provide specialized media content to South Asian audiences on a regional and global basis. Both charge a subscription fee and use the internet as a distribution mechanism. The Databazaar Media Channel serving the United States and Canada was launched four month ago and uses a streaming device. It is tied to google-tv but also includes TV and film access via computers. MELA which will start operations in September offers a multi-platform service which is accessed via television through a high definition set-top-box. Their global reach approximates 40 million individuals all over the world with the largest group, persons of Indians, amounting to about 30 million. If successful, Databazaar will also expand its coverage.
The Databazaar Media Channel does not require an upfront investment for a set-top-box but relies on existing connecting devices such as the Roku player the highest ranked current streaming device. The Databazaar channel has video programming in Hindi, Bengali, English, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi programmed through three services for a monthly $7.99 charge. They include a movie, television and music video service and cover the most popular Indian films, TV Shows and music videos
MELA, a multi-platform video on demand service, is launched by Verismo Networks, a broadband service provider, and partners with Eros International, ETV Network , Times Global Broadcasting and other companies. It has a large aggregation of South Asian content covering forty live television channels encompassing news and entertainment, hundreds of Bollywood and regional movies, including independent productions, and entertainment programs selected from the internet . Television programs are delivered in Tamil and Teluga and other languages with the 250 movie titles in Hindi Tamil and Teluga already available. Mela will be restricted to television distribution but will expand its services to other platforms ranging from mobile phones to video gaming consoles. Mela has a la carte monthly charges of $9.99 for a regional live television package and $4.99 for the on-demand movie service with an unlimited number of views. A first year bundled package costs $149 and covers the set-top- HighDef-box, 40 television channels and access to more than 500 films.
Both services reflect of the differentiation of regional and global media markets and the customization of content since the target audience consists of individual with a South East Asian origin. According to industry observers Indian companies are the first to develop such broad digital distribution platforms, though other countries with diaspora audiences, such as China, are expected to do likewise.
Claus Mueller, New York Correspondent

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