The world’s largest train operating company, Indian Railways, says it is planning to issue a tender for a contract to supply video content on board its trains. The proposed contract will grant the winning bidder the right to supply film and TV content on around 3,000 trains via on-train wireless intranets. Under the plan, passengers will be able to watch the content on their phones by logging on to the railways’ local WiFi network.
Reports in the Indian press indicate that the tender documents will split the number of trains into two equal packages and that the bidding will take place in phases. Video content providers such as Viacom18, Zee, Hungama and Shemaroo are said to be among the front-runners for the contract and will likely lead the bidding next month.
Indian Railways said that the contract will initially be awarded for a period of five years and that the successful bidder will have to pay an annual licence fee. The deal is likely to generate around Rs5 billion (euros 64.9 million) a year in non-ticket revenue, besides the possible boost to passenger numbers that the new services may bring.
The content-on-demand project falls under the Indian Railways’ plan to boost non-fare revenue by selling advertising spaces inside and outside trains and railway stations, and branding rights for stations and trains, besides leasing out spaces for ATMs and shops.
The last major tender to go on offer in this sector in India was in April when a contract to offer a WiFi on trains service for the brand new Kochi Metro was put out to bidders. Meanwhile, US-based Search Engine giant Google has been working with Indian Railways’ RailTel Corporation to roll out passenger WiFi at 400 train stations nationwide. The wireless internet connections are backed by RailTel’s huge fibre-optic infrastructure. Currently its network covers some 26,000 miles of railway track snaking its way round the subcontinent. The company says it plans to increase this to 33,000 miles.
On-board WiFi, trackside networks, the growing market for passenger WiFi services and on-board entertainment formed the main subjects of the recent WiFi on Trains Conference hosted by BWCS (www.Traincomms2017.com ). For more information on 2018’s event please contact Ross.Parsons@BWCS.com
This year's Train Communications System Conference was sponsored by Icomera (Gold), Nomad Digital (Silver), Fluidmesh (Bronze), 21Net (Cocktails), LetsJoin (Lunch Day 1) and RADWIN (Lunch Day 2).