As part of a proposed non-fare revenue policy by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu floated in January to incorporate the digital medium for upgrading the quality of services provided.
In a desperate attempt to revamp the Indian Railways and its services, the Union Ministry with the support of the Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu resolved to incorporate the new media into their operations. The passengers will be alleviated of the boredom while travelling as now they will be able to access their choice of songs, movies or TV shows from their personalised gadgets. This facility will be provided while on trains or at railway stations according to reports by Business Standard.
The Ministry has agreed to invite bids for content on demand (CoD) and rail radio services for the passengers, starting April. The CoD initiative is inclusive of a myriad range of video and audio content, the likes of which are going to be popular across all age groups. The video streaming offers a choice between TV shows, movies, short video clips, kids’ shows and devotional content. The audio streaming shall cater to options between movie songs, regional songs and devotional music. In addition to these, electronic newspapers, gaming and educational content will also be catered to.
“Content on Demand on trains and at stations is a sizeable market,” says a recent report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). An estimated profit of around INR 2,277 million is expected in three years time.
The Viable Players
Telecommunication giants like Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Airtel have shown interest already.
Content owners and distributors, like of Eros Entertainment, Balaji Productions and Shemaroo Entertainment along with content aggregators like Radio Mirchi, Fever FM, Hungama and Bindass are keen on being a part of the project.
Internet service providers and offline streaming service players including PressPlay TV, Moving Talkies, Dwingloo, Fropcorn, TouringTalkies, MyFreeTV, Zonk and CloudPlay have shown intent.
A contract of 10 years will be provided to the companies that win the bid across the multi-proposed sectors.
The implementation of CoD and rail radio will be on 30 pc of the trains in the debut year and 60 pc of the trains in the next, followed by all trains in the successive years.
In a colossal effort to overturn the losses incurred in the previous years, the flexibility of the Railway Ministry in terms of execution of the plan is going to cost them INR 38,000 for each coach for providing offline content. They will have to shell out a minimum of INR 25 million for each coach to be well rigged in order to support online content streaming.
The Railways will also set up a non-fare, revenue evaluation committee to supervise the projects. Only time will tell whether the planned projects are feasible and see the desired success.