LAS VEGAS: Piracy has eaten away nearly $4 billion of the Indian entertainment market, according to Farokh Balsara, Industry Sector Leader, Media and Entertainment, Ernst & Young. However, it hasn’t killed the growth story that the Indian film industry has seen on the international scale.
Balsara informed that even as Bollywood was seen as the face of the Indian film industry, it was a lesser known fact that only 250-odd movies were from Bollywood. The rest are from South India, while a few are produced in Kolkata. “We also have a situation where 75 per cent of the revenues are coming from theatre releases, and there are more global releases coming in India,” said Balsara. He further said that digitisation was helping this industry too with a large rollout of digital cinema that was creating a paradigm shift. At the same time, the medium was generating global investments, co-productions and cross pollination.
A total of 3.7 billion people are watching Indian movies today. Ken Naz, CEO, Americas, Eros International, took the opportunity to point out that a total of 3.1 billion people, according to a Harvard study, were watching Hollywood movies. He said, “There is a difference in the ticket pricing, but the volumes often than more make up for India. We are quite excited and happy, and the way the movies are shaping up, the change in the subject matter, movie making styles, Indian movies are fast reaching international standards.”
Naz added that the impression of Indian movies being more about song and dance had changed with movies on new subjects coming up, more and more Indian films finding their way to movie festivals and awards across the globe. “The right showcasing is happening, and that is making all the difference,” he said.
Indian movies found audience beyond India and neighbouring countries in markets like the Middle East, the Caribbean islands, South Africa, Germany, and even France and South America, Naz said, adding, “The demand coming from the second and third generation of South Asians is such that today in mature markets like the UK, nearly 97 per cent of our movies are shown in mainstream cinema. Five years back, this number was just 40 per cent.”
Naz was of the opinion that as technology progressed, the performance of Indian movies would also get better. He pointed out that the new threats today also came from the Internet, which added to piracy. Zohra Chatterjee added here that the Government was looking into piracy seriously, and simultaneous releases in all forms, including DVD releases and so on, was one of the suggestions on the Government’s list to curb piracy.
exchange4media Group’s Anurag Batra added here that one way of bringing down piracy was to bring down the price points of DVDs and to release the movie close to the theatrical release.
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