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FICCI Frames 2009: Bollywood not in a mess, but piracy needs to be tackled

21-February-2009
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FICCI Frames 2009: Bollywood not in a mess, but piracy needs to be tackled

In the last one decade, the Indian cinema has witnessed some dramatic transformation. Newer formats of film productions, distributions, exhibition, and technological progress have given rise to various innovative business models. The concluding day of FICCI Frames 2009 kicked off with a session on ‘De-risking the cinema business: Revenue models in film marketing’. The session brought under the scanner the various concerns and the elements that have evolved in the last 10 years to de-risk the industry and discussed on what more needs to be done in that regards.

The session was moderated by Bobby Bedi, MD, Kaleidoscope Entertainment, while the panel members included film director Ramesh Sippy; Harish Dayani, CEO - Entertainment, Moser Baer; Sheetal Talwar, MD, Vistaar Religare; Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios India; and Uday Singh, CEO, PVR Pictures.

Commencing the panel discussion, moderator Bedi defined the contemporary film industry and said that he had noticed that nowadays the industry was witnessing growing participation of corporates and professionals. This had increased the need for a model that could help manage the risk in the industry better.

PVR’s Uday Singh noted, “The formation of multiplexes has been a boon for getting the audience back to the cinema halls. However, piracy continued to remain a major concern, which impacted revenues. Hence, drawing audiences to movie halls and the success of multiplexes play an important role in de-risking cinema revenues.”

Harish Dayani stressed, “Bollywood business is definitely not in a mess, unlike the broadcast industry. However, the cinema industry does have its concerns that need to be addressed. The main concern is that theater viewership has dropped. Piracy, which has been growing rapidly, also poses a serious threat and needs to be addressed on an ASAP basis.”

Ramesh Sippy confessed that he had been the biggest risk taker. “Movie business is a risky business. Hence, in the times of recession we need to see the several levels where we can cut out production costs and thereby, de-risk the cinema business. We need to endeavour to make changes and not repeat the same mistakes,” he added.

Agreeing with Sippy, Sheetal Talwar reiterated that cinema was a pure risk business, however, there had been no concept to de-risk it. Meanwhile, the only way to lessen the risk would be to share the risk amongst the various levels of the industry, she added.

Following the overwhelming success of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, Vijay Singh of Fox Star Studios, said that the only way to de-risk the business was to identify the right target audience. In his view, “The best thing that could have happened to Bollywood was the recession. This is definitely a wake up call for the industry, which needs to identify the perfect model by de-risking not only the financial attributes, but also the marketing and distribution side of the business.”

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