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US cable-watchers want Bollyfare

Among the films scheduled for American subscribers are Krrish, Bluffmaster, Swades and 15, Park Avenue.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2006 12:33 IST

Bollywood films have emerged as the second most requested genre by one million digital customers of a leading American channel's International Movies On Demand (IMOD) service.

"Due to the success of this campaign, we wanted to expand our international offerings. We launched IMOD earlier this year," said Suzanne Giuliani, director, public relations, Time Warner Cable of New York and New Jersey, of its team-up with BODVOD.

"We don't disclose financials but we feel it has been a successful partnership," she said in an email interview to IANS about her company's partnership with BODVOD, the first US video on demand (VOD) service offering Bollywood and South Asian content through 30 distribution partners including Time Warner.

Apart from Bollywood fare, the channel currently offers Asia Extreme, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese and Spanish movies. But "we encourage our entire customer base to learn about our IMOD offerings as these films appeal to many different communities", Giuliani said.

This is part of the company's "targeted marketing plan and general marketing plan", she said, noting that all foreign films are sub-titled including about a dozen Bollywood films currently available on the IMOD Channel 500.

Asked how the films on offer are chosen, Giuliani said: "We take the lead from our content provider as to what films should be offered. We also encourage providers to include films that have performed well and are of broad interest to the community."

Given the success of Bollywood fare, Time Warner plans to "continue to explore expanding our offerings of Bollywood and South Asian films as this audience has grown".

Giuliani would not comment on competitors offering similar fare in North America saying: "We focus on attracting unique fare that appeals to a large audience and is comparable to films available through other outlets."

With a record number of Indian films reaching blockbuster status in America in 2006, the channel started offering an expanded selection of Bollywood and other South Asian films from November 1 with Rang de Basanti, India's official entry to the Academy Awards premiering later this month.

India's highest-grossing film of 2006, the Adlabs sci-fi action thriller Krrish, will also make its on-demand premiere when it debuts December 8. Shot in Singapore, the ground-breaking special effects in the Hrithik Roshan smash have made it Bollywood's first super hero blockbuster.

Other hit titles to be released this year include Bluffmaster, Swades, 15, Park Avenue and Taxi No. 9211.

More hits keep coming in early 2007 with the much-anticipated premieres of Shah Rukh Khan's action blockbuster Don, the New York set comedy Jaan-E-Mann, and the epic Mughal-era romance Umrao Jaan starring Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan.

After two years of steady growth, with monthly transactions jumping 150 percent from 2005, BODVOD has signed content deals with two of Bollywood's largest studios - UTV and Adlabs - and will be the exclusive video-on-demand supplier of their blockbuster hits across the US.

First Published: Nov 27, 2006 12:30 IST