[Update: Seventymm has given a special discount code for the readers of iLeher. See how to avail the offer at the end of the post]
Bollywood is big. It produces more movies than Hollywood. It sells more tickets worldwide compared to Hollywood. It has more more than double the annual growth rate compared to Hollywood. It was only a matter time that someone took notice of this and did an Indian version of Netflix, the online DVD rental service. Well as it turns out, several did. Seventymm is one of the largest and most VC funded players in this space. We profiled another company Madhouse.in few months back on iLeher. There are several others trying to make a mark in this seemingly lucrative space. And just when you thought the market is getting saturated, the Indian behemoth Reliance announced its entry in this space with BigFlicks.com. Did someone say bubble? Well we’ll see who (perhaps there is room for more than one?) emerges out as the winner but the activity in this space is peaking because of combination of several factors including growth in Internet penetration and usage, growth in the installed base of DVD players and burgeoning venture funding scene in India.
We talked with Seventymm on various aspects of their business including market stats, competition and what we expect to see from them in future. Here is what Raghav Kher, the founder and CEO of Seventymm had to say. Also they were kind enough to give our readers a special discount code to try out their service for free. Find the code at the bottom of the post.
1. Seventymm is obviously the most well funded company and has the largest footprint in India. Do you mind giving us some quick stats on number of subscribers, number of DVD’s it has in the collection, current market share etc.?
Seventymm has a library of over 15,000 films in Hindi, English and 12 other regional languages like Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telegu, Bengali, Marathi, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Assamese, Oriya, Punjabi and Gujrati. The home video market in India is still skewed towards VCDs and so a large part of our inventory are VCDs. Approximately 30% of the titles are available in the DVD format. Currently we have a subscriber base of over 16,000 subscribers across Bangalore, Delhi & Mumbai. Our target is to reach 50,000 members by the end of 2007 across the top 10 cities in India. This has so far been a largely unorganized market and we are the largest player in the organized sector, both in terms of content and number of members. We are no doubt the market leaders by far.
2. We have spoken to Madhouse and other DVD rental companies that have plans of making the service available via phone, local shops, etc. What is Seventymm doing to address the needs of customers who do not have access to Internet?
We have tried to make the online process very simple, as simple as using e-mail. However those who are not familiar with the internet have the option of ordering DVDs either by calling our customer care even by sending a sms.
3. There are these often quoted issues around logistics of delivery, cheaper rates at local shops due to piracy etc. How does Seventymm deal with this?
Seventymm has set-up an efficient logistics infrastructure to support the service offering. We have an army of 125 delivery boys across to support the demand. Consumers are getting sensitized to the issue of piracy; one of the key reasons for accessing pirated copies was the lack of a credible option. However now they have a choice in players like Seventymm who are not only credible but also capable of catering to the needs of consumers in terms of choice and convenience.
4. Seventymm has this referral program where you get 1/6th of your rent off for every new customer you bring. How useful has been the referral program so far? Is this going to continue forever?
In India movies are a religion and people not only love to watch movies but also talk about them. Our referral program provides an opportunity to our members to talk about a service like ours to their friends and relatives. This not only helps in brand proliferation but also sign ups. Our referral program has been very useful in meeting these objectives and we wish to continue the same as a brand strategy.
5. Any potential threats from Moser Baer (they recently announced selling Hindi DVD’s at less than Rs. 40, which is less than the cost of the rental)
The entry of Moser Baer and low priced CDs & DVDs is a positive sign as the movie consumption will grow and so will the overall market for home video. However we do not perceive it as a threat at all because consumers may not like to buy all content even if they come very cheap. Consumers still buy content which they want to treasure or share, but predominantly rent.
6. What innovations, new services are we going to see in the future from Seventymm?
We will be present in 10 cities across India very shortly. In the next few years the speed of broadband will go up to one megabit per second. Once that happens we will start distributing movies digitally.
7. Anything else you would like to add for our readers?
We would like to welcome your associates and readers to try our service and have a special offer for them. We wish to discuss this with the concerned person in your team to execute the offer at the earliest. Please find the discount code below.