Dolby has been seen and heard in Indian cinemas for a few decades now. Earlier this decade, it made another big splash with the launch of Dolby Atmos, a surround sound technology that lets creators move sound around in a three-dimensional space like a character, which has now percolated into our living rooms. Now, Dolby wants to ensure this experience is a standard on smartphones as we consume content rich content via the streaming services.
“With millions of devices already coming in and as device penetration gets better everyday, whether it is a smart phone or smart television, our duty also evolves because we need to make people aware and educate them what they need to do to get this great experience,” explains Ashim Mathur, Senior Regional Director Marketing – Emerging Markets, Dolby Laboratories.
About five years ago, the question was “Do you have Dolby at home?” But the message is certainly evolving. “The first year, we established what is Dolby, what does Dolby do and what is the surround sound experience. The second year we went into the mindset of how we can get a stadium experience at home, enjoying with the family. The third year, we established the sound bar as a category. This year, we have moved to the on-the-go experience and the question has changed to ‘Mobile me Dolby hai kya?’,” adds Mathur.
Dolby Atmos first came to mobile phones with Lenovo a few years back. This year, however, all flagships phones are offering the experience from iPhones to Samsung and now OnePlus. “That (Lenovo) was four years back. Now things have evolved and we are probably in the best condition from a device penetration perspective.”
For consumers, the good thing is that since Dolby’s tech rests on the device, they can enjoy an Atmos experience even with the headphones that come in the box or with the speakers of the phone itself. Mathur says irrespective of the headphone, users will get the same experience. But a lot of this also depends on the content.
And this is where India has hit a sweet spot with a lot of the OTT content now being streamed with Dolby Audio. “Thanks to the OTT services, now there is enough content which is coming in and this will ultimately decide the adoption and engagement.”
It helps that a lot of the directors and sound designers who have used Dolby in the cinema space are now creating content for OTT sites. “This is good for us because they know the tools and know how to use it. And they know how it has helped them tell their stories better in cinema,” Mathur adds.
The big fillip that mobile brands would have got with the ongoing festival sales would also mean more users now have access to Dolby technology on their handsets. “From a device attach perspective, this is probably one of the best positions we have had and the trajectory looks even better from here,” says Mathur, adding that the next bit is to get more content so that this whole thing becomes far more relevant.