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With the rising demand for ethnic media, a Pakistani-born U.S citizen has developed a new technology: Jadoo TV. Jadoo is an Urdu word that stands for 'miracle,' in this case for the miracle of aggregating video content from the Internet to the television set for South Asian communities in North America.
"The aim in developing this technology is to reconnect the South Asian communities in North America with their respective countries' culture, traditions and languages," said Sajid Sohail, CEO of Jadoo TV Company.
"We use the latest advances that use cutting-edge digital video compression as well as broadband Internet to bring the consumers the benefits and convenience of watching their favorite content on TV without the computer or cable" he said.
The user only needs a high-speed Internet connection for high-quality video, he said, adding that this is a 'sea change' in the area of digital media that will now enable anyone to watch videos, live shows and sports games include, on their TVs.
"We have limited resources, but many ethnic communities including Russian, Middle Eastern, Iranian, Korean and Chinese groups in North America are demanding the creation of a similar version of their languages' content" Sohail said.
As the traditional media struggles to catch up with new-media trends, entrepreneurs are searching for new ways to disseminate information to the end consumer to meet the demand for customized content.
"Our focus is not the people of the North America. They have access to more than 200 channels on the dish, plus normal information streams" Sohail said, adding: "We want to serve the South Asian communities who are not getting substantial coverage of their respective countries culture, traditions etc."
Long term, solutions like Jadoo TV could provide filtered content to consumers that would be specific to the ethnic communities.
Other companies have developed similar boxes like Apple TV, which lets users download and watch movies and TV shows from the iTunes store. Roku Player lets users stream movies from Netflix and Amazon to your TV, and MediaPoint by 2Wire lets users stream movies from Blockbuster to your TV.
"We have no competition from anyone yet. We are unique. We are not tied to any particular website or linked to content providers and can go anywhere" Sohail claimed.
Internet users have started watching movies on computers, drastically reducing the use of TV. This has not only hit the manufacturing industry but has also reduced social contact within the family. "We have revived the fading tradition of watching content on TV at one place by all the family members. This will increase interaction among the family members" Sohail said.
"We are updating the server by adding new content. Over 150 million program items can be accessed through our technology--dramas, videos, sports games etc." Sohail said. Though the system is in high demand, it faces problems with quality and media-content licensing issues.
"We want to deal with the media-content companies to provide access to legal and high-quality streams with low distribution cost", the CEO said. Currently, the streams are available on the Internet by individuals or through some companies but are not high quality.
He agreed that media-content licensing may become an issue but he said that the company could eventually enter into agreements with content providers. However, he said that as long as content is available free on the Internet, his system will not be subject to additional subscription costs.
Asked about his business model, Sohail said that his company was generating revenues. "We are now focusing only on building a database of users of our product. We will explore in future subscription model for some content, while the rest will remain free" he said.
As globalization and the Internet have reduced the significance of national borders, companies like Jadoo that can reconnect ethnic communities in the diaspora to the motherland may find themselves in high demand.
by Mubarak Zeb Khan
100 NE 3rd Avenue, Suite 200
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Phone (O): 646.536.7331
Phone (M): 480.861.2425