Digital Content

A boom in Bollywood content on South African mobile phones appears likely with local network operators evincing a keen interest in making such content available.

Ali Hoosein, business development manager of Virtual Marketing India, who met all the three South African network operators - Vodacom, MTN and Cell-C, said they had requested follow-up meetings.

"Since April, we have acquired global exclusive distributors of content for any mobile network in the world. We are doing it in phases. In the first phase, one of the countries is South Africa. There is also the US, Canada, Britain, some countries in the Middle East, Singapore, Australia and Malaysia," Hoosein said.

"We want to ensure that legitimate content is being provided properly to all these content operators, and if possible, directly from us."

"The South African meetings were all very positive, the reason being that we came with a range of experience in Bollywood content - be it games, applications, interesting vocal content - everything that you can get via phone, including video," he said.

"All these are not offered to phone users currently. What they are doing is just covering the category Bollywood, but they are not doing a good job by creating all types of content.

Hoosein said there was piracy in Bollywood content, especially because of the ambiguity as far as licensing is concerned. "People have taken advantage of that fact and they have been riding on it for some time."

His company is working closely with Indian music company T-Series and its local distributor, Global Music, to find ways of delivering legitimate content in South Africa.

"Once legitimate content is on the platforms and operators are willing to promote that content, any other provider entity will not be allowed to do it effectively because the operators will claim to already have that content. If it is replicated anywhere else, the operators will take action."

Hoosein said such an agreement would be beneficial to all, including mobile operators, the distributor of the content and the license holders.

"This is especially so since we are talking about integrating multiple levels. We want to be able to show trailers for Bollywood films on the South African mobile operator's website, for example, at no cost, and other Bollywood content"