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Mar 20, 2017 04:50 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

TV in train: Railways to bring to you movies, shows while you travel

If train journeys were boring for you, Indian Railways will spice it up. It is planning to offer TV shows, movies and songs for the entertainment of its passengers, reports Business Standard.

TV in train: Railways to bring to you movies, shows while you travel

Moneycontrol News

If train journeys were boring for you, Indian Railways will spice it up. It is planning to offer TV shows, movies and songs for the entertainment of its passengers, reports Business Standard.

Entertainment on train journeys is usually limited to activities such as card games and talking to fellow passengers. With Railways planning bringing TV on our phones, train travel, especially long-distance, is about to get more exciting.

In an effort to revamp railways, the Ministry may invite bids for Content on Demand (CoD) and rail radio services in April. Services that are included under the CoD initiative are TV serials, movies, short videos, kids’ shows and devotional content; streaming audio such as movie songs, regional songs, and devotional music; and providing electronic newspapers, gaming and educational content.

This is part of Railways’ non-fare revenue policy, which also saw the sector coming up with ideas like holding weddings at stations or giving branding rights of trains and stations to fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies.

Content on demand on trains and at stations is a sizeable market, says a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). And, Railways estimates the infotainment market to be around Rs 2,277 crore in three years’ time.

Which interested players?

Content owners like Eros Entertainment, Balaji Productions and Shemaroo Entertainment, and content aggregators like Radio Mirchi, Fever FM, Hungama and Bindass.

Telecom firms like Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Airtel.

Internet service providers and players in the offline streaming market including PressPlay TV, Moving Talkies, Dwingloo, Fropcorn, TouringTalkies, MyFreeTV, Zonk and CloudPlay.

Action plan

Companies that win the bid will be awarded contracts for 10 years and it will be for sectors including radio, video, digital music and digital gaming.

The course of the plan will be to rollout CoD and rail radio on 30 percent of the trains in the first year. In the second year, 60 percent of the trains will enjoy these facilities. By the end of the third year, all trains will be equipped with these services.

Cost of content

To keep its passengers entertained, Railways will have to bear the cost. Is too much? As per the BCG report, to provide offline content the sector will have to shell out RS 38,000 for each coach. But, the online content will be expensive. Railways will have to spend Rs 25 lakh for each coach to be well equipped to offer content streamed via the internet.

A non-fare revenue evaluation committee will also be setup to overlook the projects.

Getting a new look

For a long time, Indian Railways has been recognising its losses but now the sector on wheels is on a mission to reduce the book on debts. Passenger fares have been pinching the pockets of the national transporter. As per media reports, Railways incurred losses of Rs 33,821.70 crore on passenger fares and for addition of extra coaches during 2014-15.

For a financial turnaround the business, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and his team is leaving no stone unturned. In a latest development, it has also signed an agreement with a Railway research centre in Australia. This partnership will help Indian railways to adopt international models and advance both in Indian and globally.
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