Coverage of Saroja in The Hindu

Beangalore: Th world’s biggest producer and consumer of cinematic entertainment, is sitting on another potential goldmine: massive — but largely unorganised and in many cases, neglected — caches of priceless moving picture footage, dating back to pre-Independence days.

Political events; celebrity interviews; rare music and stage performances; exotic locations and happenings ... the clips lie in different hands, many captured in the film media of earlier eras, and in danger of being spoiled for ever — unless captured; restored and digitized for distribution afresh.

Three Indian technocrats, have come together in an enterprise that hopes to rescue such precious visual material from oblivion — and give them a fresh lease of life.

“There is so much demand out there, for India-specific video material to feed the huge global industry fuelling television and mobile content,” says V.N. Saroja, co-founder and director of the Noida-based Movico Technologies ( www.movicotech.com ).

“Yet so much of what’s available never reaches potential users, because it has not been formatted for today’s systems.”

Ms. Saroja had earlier co-founded Naukri.com, a leader in the online job portal business, before getting together with two others: S.N. Rai, former logistics head for LG India and Arvind Jha , who as president of Monsoon Multimedia, had helped create “Hava,” the Indian technology for place-and-time-shifting TV which fuels many hot products in the West. The trio set up Movico last year, with core funding of a million dollars.

Multiple Formats

Two months ago, Movico partnered with Moving Picture Company, a leading film and TV production house, to handle all the latter’s assets: over 12,000 hours of exclusive footage covering the gamut of documentary subjects. Since then Movico has tied up with other stock footage holders to help digitize, manage and distribute their assets in the global video mandi. It has created a software, “MediaBaron” to do this in a swift and seamless manner: The same footage needs to be offered to customers in multiple formats, ranging from high definition ‘Bluray’ clips for movie and TV, to low resolution versions for the burgeoning mobile phone market.

By October 2008, Movico will launch version 2 of its digital workflow solution. Holders of large assets can harness this to handle their video content ... or entrust Movico with the management of their assets.

Digital Rebirth

“We are constantly on the lookout for unknown or long forgotten caches of precious Indian movie content,” Ms. Saroja, told The Hindu, “Our pitch to any one who may own such content is: Help us to give your valuable memories a digital rebirth and share it with a new generation.” For the holders of such assets, it’s not just a chance to resurrect their holdings; it’s also sound business sense. A recent report on the Indian media (by FICCI-PwC) estimates that the ‘desi’ end alone of the video content business will be worth $ 30 billion by 2012.