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Worldly: Gaurav Dhillon

Aug 14, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The player: Gaurav Dhillon, founder and chief executive officer of Jaman.com.

The play
: Mr. Dhillon founded the movie-download service, which specializes in independent and international titles, in 2005. With investor-advisers that include publishing heir Will Hearst, ICM Chief Executive Officer Jeff Berg and former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, the company has an inventory of about 1,500 films and plans to add another 2,000 within the next few months. Last month, Jaman.com acquired the rights from Viacom unit Paramount Pictures to digitally distribute titles including “Into the Wild” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” “The opportunity is to become a movie channel for the world, so quality is a key issue,” Mr. Dhillon said.
The pitch: Jaman.com, which takes its name from the Punjabi word for a type of purple berry, encodes all of its films in a resolution that’s comparable to high definition, provided the end user’s computer has the necessary graphics software and monitor, Mr. Dhillon said. “If you hook the computer up to a plasma, it’s better than broadcast quality,” said Mr. Dhillon, whose company is based in San Mateo, near San Francisco.
The challenges: Like other content-downloading and streaming services, Jaman.com is dependent on users having sufficient bandwidth to acquire and play data-heavy HD titles in a timely manner. Also, contrary to the set pixel standards of HDTVs, computer-display quality for the films may run the gamut because of the wide range of monitors, software and hardware in use.
Backstory: Before Jaman.com, Mr. Gaurav, 42, co-founded data-warehousing firm Informatica Corp. in 1992 and was its CEO for its initial public offering in 1999 (the company now has a market value of about $1.6 billion). He’d previously been an executive with Sterling Software and Unisys. Mr. Gaurav moved to the U.S. from his native India to attend graduate school at Cal State Northridge.

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