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Indian film not yet enamoured by online distrib'n

Published on : March 15, 2012
Indian film not yet enamoured by online distrib\'n

By Patrick Frater

Wed, 14 March 2012, 22:34 PM (HKT)


Ancillary News

India may have over 100 digital distribution platforms for film, but they are unloved vehicles that have so far yielded little in the way of revenues for most films, a seminar at the FICCI-Frames convention heard.


Vijay Singh, CEO of Fox Star, said that theatrical and TV rights sales growth have made a greater contribution to recent expansion of film industry revenues than online. Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO at UTV Motion Pictures, said that new media represents only one source of new revenues, alongside music and overseas rights sales.


Adam Davies, CEO of the UK's Sanona Pictures, critiqued the different revenue models available online and suggested that both subscription and ad-supported models give content owners much smaller returns than they imagine. "If your business demonstrates that your film has no intrinsic value it is hard to go to legislators and seek protection," he said. He proposed that pay-per-view (PPV), as offered by Sanona, is the best for content owners and is, counter-intuitively what consumers prefer. Getting the price point right however is crucial to the success of a PPV platform.


Pranav Ashar, founder of India-based subscription service Enlighten, suggested that online services by keeping films available for longer provide films with a 'long tail' that they might not otherwise enjoy.


Jai Maroo, director of Shemaroo, said that films online still need marketing in order to be found by audiences.


The possibilities, nevertheless, had speakers fascinated.


Kapur said that "4G is a massive opportunity for the movie business." Singh spoke of reaching an additional 30 million spectators for 3 Idiots, already one of the most successful Indian films of all time. Using a recent US example, Ashar pointed to Netflix outbidding traditional pay-TV powerhouse HBO for rights to David Fincher and Kevin Spacey's new series House of Cards.


Maroo said that India's massive mobile population needs to be trained to watch more video content. His company has produced both one-minute and 15-minute edited versions of Bollywood films. He suggested that over time as connection speeds improve and audience habits evolve, they may shift to longer format programming including full-length feature film.


Maroo also explained that online platforms offer films more time to build compared with brutal opening weekend pressure on theatrically-released movies. His company has experimented with online-only releases for films such as Super K (pictured) and drastically collapsed windows for others such as Bheja Fry 2, which went to online platforms ahead of its release on cable and satellite TV. click here

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