International media houses have shored up their operations in India. With Viacom and Warner Bros announcing plans to augment their respective Indian operations, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) India, too, has made a slew of announcements indicating its focus on the Indian region.
Uday Singh, MD, SPE India, explained that India had always been an important market for Sony and that the company had been active in various revenue streams in India. Singh said, “India as a market is growing and the world is talking about it. We have always been clear that it is an important market for SPE and hence, you see us active in a whole range of sectors.”
These domains include theatrical business, wherein the company has big titles coming in the year. Bond flick ‘Casino Royale’ opens in November 2006. Then there is ‘Spiderman 3’, ‘Pirates of the Carribean - 3’ and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia - 2’, ‘National Treasure – 2’, ‘Ghost Riders’, ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’. In animation, the offerings include ‘Open Season’ and ‘Monster House’. Two other films on the charts are ‘All the Kings Men’ and ‘Marie Antoinette’.
The partnership with Disney also brings movies such as ‘The Guardian’, ‘Meet the Robinsons’, ‘Goal 2’, ‘Breaking and Entering’, ‘The Invisible’, ‘HollywoodLand’, ‘Rataouille’, and ‘Déjà vu’, among others.
SPE’s Divya Pathak explained that the movies were across genre and the expectations were high from these properties. She said, “India runs on cricket and movies, and even in movies, people look for differentiation. Hollywood titles bring you that differentiation and with the market opening up and the digital domain growing, this is the best time to be here.”
In addition to this, Sony is also strengthening its home entertainment business. SPE will not only have English titles, it has also added Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali dubbed movies to its offering. This also paves the way for its Indian production, where SPE has tied up with filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali for his movie ‘Saawariya’, which is on the floor already and slated for a 2007 release.
Another area of concentration is television licensing and digital assets licensing, for which Sony has entered into a partnership with Hungama.
“It is not easy for anyone to just begin these areas of work. In this domain, I think we are far ahead of any of our competitors and I think this will hold us in good stead in this market,” maintained Singh. He was confident of SPE achieving 70 per cent revenue growth in the year.