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Will DTH spell death knell for DVD?
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Beaming of latest blockbusters to customers raises brows in DVD rental market

With Direct-to-Home (DTH) facility beaming the latest blockbusters, it’s the original DVD rental business that’s likely to take a beating. The original DVD market had been roiling under a threat from piracy for quite some time, now to add to their worries, it’s the various DTH service providers such as TataSky, DishTV that have entered the foray.

A case in point is the latest releases: Slumdog Millionaire and A Wednesday — the former’s rights for relaying was exclusively bought over by TataSky— that’s had an adverse effect on sale of the original DVD. Palvi Gala, assistant vice-president, Shemaroo Studio, says, “The market for DVDs has anyways been bleak for the past few years due to pirated products flocking the market. Now, sales of DVDs of the latest movies are witnessing a downward spiral what with major DTH players buying the rights of these movies and relaying them.”

“It is indeed a threat if this trend is followed too often by producers,” avers Kamal Gianchandani, COO, Bigflix.com, “but in the case of Slumdog Millionaire, I guess it should be viewed as an exceptional case where the producers chose to release the movie first on DTH and then on DVDs.” He, however, remains hopeful that the DTH segment will have its limitations as they would not be able to provide its customers more than 6-7 titles while the rental segment offers a choice of about 20,000. “We both remain on different platforms and have our own space,” he adds.

On the other hand, Vikkas Chopra, general manager, Moser Baer, says, “DTH viewing in no way affect sales of DVDs. Rather, it will bring viewing of a particular movie to a larger extent where a customer would go out to purchase its DVD as it gives him a sense of ownership.In the case of animation movie My Friend Ganesha which was relayed by Star it had lead to rise in sales of its DVDs. I feel that both the businesses complement each other.”

In a country where movies are next to religion in favourite past time, whatever may be the outcome, it will be customer who will have the last say. Gaurav Pai, a subscriber of Bigflix.com, says, “I find buying DVDs on rental more convenient as I am not left at the mercy of the channel to decide what and when I watch. Moreover, the choice offered by the rental service is large when compared with the DTH facility.”

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