IMD Brings Bollywood Hits On Demand to South Asians Across the U.S.
As the South Asian community continues to grow in the United States, companies are seeking out new ways to cater to this rising population. International Media Distribution (IMD) is no exception. The in-language programming provider recently announced the expansion of Bollywood Hits on Demand to Verizon Fios TV, marking the service’s increasing popularity among consumers across the country. With its debut on Verizon Fios, the service — first launched in 2006 on one cable operator — is now available on eight U.S. platforms. IMD’s Executive Director of Affiliate Sales & Marketing Shelly Kurtz took time to talk about the Bollywood expansion and how the South Asian community has impacted the company’s products and services.
Tell us the ways in which IMD has expanded its products and services to target the South Asian community specifically.
On the linear channel side we added the STAR suite of networks to our portfolio and work hard every day to expand the distribution for STAR India PLUS, Life OK, STAR India GOLD and STAR India NEWS. In addition, we offer VIJAY, a Tamil language channel and TV Asia, the voice of the South Asian American community in the United States. On the Video On Demand side, we expanded our offerings last year to include movies sold on an individual “transactional” basis which are offered directly to consumers in the same way mainstream movies are available for purchase through the digital cable box. We also offer a subscription video on demand service called Bollywood Hits On Demand which is available nationally to subscribers for a monthly fee. This service includes movies, music videos, behind-the-scenes content and more. In an effort to increase value to consumers, we tripled the content less than 18 months ago. Each month, customers can access a library of over 150 hours including pre-DVD releases, Bollywood classics, regional titles and more.
How long has Bollywood Hits on Demand been around, and do you find that it’s a service that’s being used more and more by the South Asian community?
Bollywood Hits On Demand launched in September 2006 with one cable operator. Since then, the service has expanded to include 8 platforms across the US. The subscriptions have grown over the years and the usage rates, measured by average views per set-top box, are consistently among the highest of all subscription video on demand services.
What different platforms is Bollywood Hits on Demand available on?
Bollywood Hits On Demand is available as a subscription video on demand service and is available nationally with Xfintiy TV from Comcast, Optimum from Cablevision, Cox, Verizon FiOS, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, CenturyLink, and RCN. Comcast subscribers can also access the content online through XfinityTV.com where the current and prior month’s content is available for viewing. What kind of social media presence do you have? Bollywood Hits On Demand has an active following on both Facebook and Twitter (@bollywood_bhod), where it posts programming updates, interacts with fans and assists viewers with questions.
Has the South Asian consumer’s needs changed? Do you think they’re watching their Bollywood films on different medium through different platforms?
Yes, Bollywood consumers want to view content on multiple screens, just like mainstream consumers. We are working with cable operators to allow access online and through iPads and other wireless devices. Consumers also want more choices and flexibility which is why we offer a full monthly package option as well as a la carte choices to best suit budgets and interests.
How do you go about acquiring these films, and how much do they cost the consumer on average?
We have a partnership with Eros International which allows the service to get the newest and hottest blockbusters just weeks after their theatrical release and oftentimes pre-DVD window. For those that do not have the service subscription and are Comcast, Cox or Time Warner customer, 4 titles each month are also available to purchase on an individual basis through On Demand for $2.99-$4.99. Does the consumer need to buy a special Indian networks package in order to access Bollywood Hits on Demand, or can they just have basic cable service? Bollywood Hits On Demand is available with an additional monthly subscription prices of approximately $9.99 per month (prices vary by operator) During May, to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the films Ra. One and Rockstar plus behind the scenes episodes and a selection of music videos are available for free through Comcast Top Picks and Cox Freezone in the “Asian Heritage” section