What's ailing the film industry? The industry draws its revenues from domestic theatrical sales (2001: 36 billion rupees); overseas rights (2001: 5.25 billion rupees); music rights (2001: 1.5 billion rupees); television and video rights (2001: 2 billion rupees); corporate sponsorship and merchandising (2001: 0.01 billion rupees). In spite of buoyant earnings, piracy is a problem, which has brought the industry to its knees.
Last year alone it was estimated that unlawful copying and distribution cost the industry $66 million in revenues.
Filmmaker Ram Gopal Verma said, "Perhaps the most significant obstacle relating to piracy is the lack of a centralised government body to regulate all matters concerning the film industry. Current responsibility is divided across multiple government and regulatory bodies."
Verma said, "The loss incurred by a movie producer here is largely due to pirates as pirated copies are available even before the official release of the film. Why should a pirate make a profit and I incur a loss when all the efforts of bringing a film to the audiences are done by me? I deserve to make a pile of money on a film, since I have earned it every step of the way."
Can't deal with the pirates? Why not get as high on technology? Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said, "The Indian movie industry, which makes 800 films a year, loses nearly 17 billion rupees ($356m) annually due to piracy. One way of looking at it you could make DVDs the same day and make money. If you cannot fight technology, one must join them. That is the only way to survive in this business, especially with the numbers of video parlours increasing. Today, the audience wants to see a film first day, first show."
Speaking from a channel perspective, Kunal Das Gupta of Sony, said, "If you have bought the telecast rights of a particular film, you are giving the producer his due and it's a fair exchange. But what most cable channels do, by telecasting pirated movies (for which no stake has been given to the producer) is completely unacceptable."