Dolby bets on Bollywood to bring Atmos to songs

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on December 26, 2019

John Couling, Senior Vice President, Commercial Partnerships, Dolby Laboratorie

For sound technology company Dolby Laboratories, the focus for several years has been to transform movie watching experience through technologies such as Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision that create immersive experiences. But now, Dolby is betting on bringing Atmos to music and Bollywood is its biggest opportunity.

"India is a really important market because it is large and growing. Entertainment really matter here and there's tremendous opportunity for increased experiences. People care about sound. That's very clear. And that's a wonderful market from Dolby perspective because we care about sound," John Couling, Senior Vice President, Commercial Partnerships, Dolby Laboratories, told BusinessLine.

Dolby has been very aggressively working with Indian movie production houses to brining in Atmos technology here and the sheer volume of Indian movie is creating a bigger market for Dolby in India than in the US.

"We have more Dolby Atmos movies coming out from Bollywood than Hollywood. Last month, there were over 12 movies release with Dolby Atmos in one week alone in India (including Tamil and Telugu). Volume out of India is much greater than that it is in the US," Couling said. Indian movie industry produces close to 2,000 movies a year, far more than just about 100 Hollywood movies that come out each year.

But Bollywood is not just important for Dolby from theatre perspective but also for testing out its Atmos sound technology for music, something that's still in its early days for Dolby worldwide.

"Music (from Atmos perspective) is early days for us. Music in movies is a big part of the music that people listen to in India, that's unique to the Indian market. That gives us a good headstart because we are already working with those movies. That gives us the ability to understand how music can benefit from Dolby Atmos technology. In India, we have Amazon Echo Studio devices on which we worked with Amazon to bring Dolby Atmos. It can deliver Atmos music experience. Mobile phones also have that capability, We have the pieces already," Couling said.

Couling feels that Atmos enabled devices at lower prices will expand the adoption for the technology and India will drive that going ahead. Dolby's major revenues come from device partnerships and growing technology consumption in India is making India more important than ever for Dolby. Recent moves by Flipkart to launch Nokia and Motorola branded televisions make India even more relevant for Dolby.

"There's no real value in creating something that can only be enjoyed by a few who've got the time, the money, the technical expertise to setup something accessible complex. We want to make things as simple as possible. Some of the things we've done is you can buy a TV from OnePlus and it comes with Dolby Atmos built in. You don't need a PhD in engineering to get that. When we move to devices like phones, Atmos comes straight out of the box. That gives you technology at various price points but also from a simplicity perspective, it is just a out of the box experience," Couling said.

"Indian market is important from a consumption perspective for us," he added.

Published on December 26, 2019

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