Monday, March 4, 2024

A sound that touches your soul

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The Pioneer connected with Sameer Seth, Director of Marketing at Dolby Atmos, to talk about the company’s decade-long journey in the Indian market. He talked about the vision he set out for the company, and what the technology does in order to elevate the consumer experience.

Amartya Smaran

Dolby Atmos, a surround sound technology engineered by Dolby Laboratories, is spread across more than 101 countries, and the company has been successful in penetrating the Indian market in the last decade. Shivaji 3D was the first Indian film to incorporate pioneering technology, and since then, most big films like PS-1, Vikram, and RRR, amongst others, have never missed out on the opportunity to use the technology to better tell their stories on the big screen.

The Pioneer connected with Sameer Seth, Director of Marketing at Dolby Atmos, to talk about the company’s decade-long journey in the Indian market. He talked about the vision he set out for the company, and what the technology does in order to elevate the consumer experience.

Sameer Seth couldn’t be more excited to talk about Dolby Atmos’s 10-year stint in the Indian market. “In these 10 years, we’ve covered a lot. There are more than 1200 Indian theatrical releases that have happened in different Indian languages, and this includes more than 300 films in Telugu. On the exhibition side, there are more than 850 Dolby Atmos-enabled screens in India now. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have nearly 200 screens as a market, demonstrating that Dolby Atmos technology has been experienced by consumers not only in metros but also in smaller towns and regional markets in India. And there are more than 60 plus Dolby Atmos screens in Hyderabad-Secunderabad alone.”

When we asked the spokesperson about how people can experience the technology in various forms, he explained, “There is also a lot of content and experiences available to them with different lifestyles. You can get a Dolby Atmos experience in your living room through OTT streaming services on your television, a sound bar, and a home theater. You can also get Dolby Atmos in Dolby Vision, which is a visual technology experience on a smartphone and PC. While you’re on the go and talking about content momentum, there are hours of regional content now available through leading international and Indian streaming services that deliver a Dolby Vision and a Dolby Atmos experience. You can actually get a Dolby Atmos experience through audio and podcast streaming services.”

Now that the company works extensively with creators around the globe, we tapped into the question of what makes these craftsmen and women choose the technology. To which Sameer replied, “We work with filmmakers, musicians, and technicians who really bring out the magic. Here they use audio and visual technology from Dolby to do better storytelling. The reason they use the technology is that it helps them deliver their original creative intent. The creator’s intent is preserved, and that’s why filmmakers and musicians choose Dolby technology.”

Elaborating further, he stated, “The next part that comes is the delivery. We collaborate with delivery platforms to enhance their experience so that they can use the technology to deliver Dolby-created content in the best possible way. The third and last part of the ecosystem that we have the privilege of working with is the playback side, which is where the device is coming from. We collaborate and work with leading OEMs (original equipment manufacturers); even regional OEMs who have started delivering their devices with Dolby Vision and Atmos technologies. It’s a complete ecosystem effort, and that differentiates us as a technology brand of choice. Not only with the creators of content, but with consumers as well as with the services and advice partners we have.”

How does the surround system technology work? Perhaps not everyone is a part of the procedure.Taking us through the nitty gritty of Dolby Atmos technology, Sameer explained, “It’s pretty simple! Dolby Atmos unleashes the power of audio in storytelling. Imagine a sequence of a helicopter going overhead. Our human ears would hear the sound of the helicopter from the backstop going all the way ahead in front of you, and Dolby Atmos helps recreate that experience. You really can’t talk about the experience, but the effort is to bring the consumer to that experience. That happens through our cinema exhibitor partners, who do a fantastic job on the cinema side, where you walk into a Dolby Atoms experience.”

“Dolby as a brand also tries to do some awareness-building in terms of going to the end consumer directly,” said Sameer. “We recently introduced a direct-to-consumer campaign called Dolby Mein Suna Kya Dekha Kya. It comes from a colloquial reference that we make while spending time with friends. It’s more like, “Hey, did you listen to that or did you see that?”. That’s the creative tool that we used in the campaign, where we highlight a day in the life of a family and the content that they’re consuming in different environments.”

The thought of integrating Dolby technology into every single theatre is fascinating. However, as we all know, the situation of single theatres in the country is not great. When we asked him whether theatres would back down citing the cost of the technology, he clarified, “In Hyderabad and Secunderabad alone, a plethora of exhibitors are already using our technology. The whole ecosystem is kind of coming back, and from a product point of view, it’s a product sale business that we have with cinema exhibitors. That is where we make our own products for cinema exhibitors. There are amplifiers we make, there are processes we make, and we started making speakers as well. The cost decision is really that of the exhibitor. It’s not prohibitive in that sense. It all depends on how much, to what extent, and what upgrades the exhibitors are looking at.”

Continuing further, he ended, “What drives us is the power of sight and sound. We’d love to use our technology to deliver and enable experiences. Technology is such that it should power up your experiences wherever you are, and it should not be limiting. It should power up your devices and deliver the best possible experience.”

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