With Videos-On-Demand, Bollywood Meets Web 2.0 - InformationWeek
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2/14/2008
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With Videos-On-Demand, Bollywood Meets Web 2.0

Bollywood.tv is using next-generation caching and content-delivery technology to bring its vast collection of South Asian films to online subscribers around the world.

In many ways the films of Bollywood, South Asia's prolific film industry, are tailor-made for the Web: They're instantly digestible, they're lavishly eye-catching, and they come in an unending stream of around 1,000 movies a year. Plus, the huge expat Indian community of some 25 million worldwide offers a sizable potential market.

So it makes perfect sense that Bollywood.tv is using next-generation caching and content-delivery technology to bring its vast collection of South Asian spectacles to online subscribers around the world.

Based in London and owned by Australian investment firm Charter Pacific Corp., Bollywood.tv was founded in 2005. It has amassed a catalog of 1,900 contemporary and classic Bollywood movies in languages including Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, and Bengali. The site charges $3.99 and up to watch full-length movies and has a monthly subscription offering as well.

Along with third-party providers like Bollywood.tv, big Bollywood studios are getting into the online act as well. Last year two of the largest Indian film factories, Rajshri Group and Eros Entertainment, began making their movies available via download to fans across the Web. Several recent South Asian blockbusters have been released simultaneously in theaters and on the Web.

Bollywood.tv CEO Nigel Glynn-Davies said Thursday his company has started using the Velocix content-delivery system to move films across the Internet. Velocix, which changed its name from CacheLogic earlier this month, offers what it calls "multisourced caching" -- a way of dividing large files (feature-length videos, computer games, software applications, and the like) into pieces and storing them across many different caching sites across the Internet, then delivering the whole dynamically from the best source.

Citing Cisco Systems research that shows consumer-generated traffic growing at 52% a year between now and 2011, Velocix CEO Phill Robinson said that conventional content-delivery networks, such as Akamai's, are not designed for such high-capacity requirements.

"Most content-delivery networks work exactly the same now as they did 10 years ago," said Robinson -- they cache files locally on servers and deliver them from a single source based on the user's location. Velocix, by contrast, carves up large multiple gigabyte files into 256-KB slices and shifts the source of the download or stream based on the optimal connection at any given moment.

Velocix also uses intelligent routing technology to deliver big files using a combination of peer-to-peer networks and caching.

As well as working with major broadcasters such as the BBC, Velocix is equipping independent content distributors to provide for-pay online video services to their audiences. Last November the popular Italian soccer club AC Milan began providing streaming and on-demand video of matches to fans online, using Velocix's technology.

The entry of the big studios into the movie-on-demand market means that Bollywood.tv could face some stiff competition in the coming years. But in the world of South Asian movies, nobody ever said that less is more.

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