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Piracy threatens moviedom in India …

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on June 12, 2007


As sales slump, the music and home-video industries overseas have turned into a worried lot. While this is not entirely confined to Bollywood – and the American studios are as concerned, the downside for the Indian motion picture industry, I believe, is a lot higher, given our dependence on extremely select revenue streams in the international market. Some will argue that a number of avenues and rights have indeed opened up internationally for potential exploitation but I continue to maintain that revenue from these streams is still incremental and not principal in nature.

Rampant physical and online piracy and streaming of Indian films has sharply reduced the number of walk-ins in DVD selling outlets. This is also the case with Indian music.

In fact, the decline in the number of videos and DVDs being rented is threatening the very existence of several standalone rental stores, who are being forced to branch out into other businesses. Many are turning to quiet piracy, while the others are trying to either set up Internet services or get into theatrical distribution, which still constitutes the largest chunk on the overseas revenue pie for an Indian film release.

Like the VHS business that became obsolete with the advent of the DVD technology, what remains to be seen is how soon the latter will fall prey to the power of the Net!

Consumer behaviour

Mentioned earlier, ‘multiplex takings’ is still the principal revenue driver of a commercial film overseas – but a recent survey by the UK Film Council (UKFC) has some interesting results that point towards a gradual shift in consumer behaviour.

It appears that customers are beginning to spend less time watching films at the cinema and on DVD and spending more time on various online activities. The shift was most marked in the 15-24 age group.

This only endorses my point in the piece above – is the Net assuming proportions more enormous than what we can imagine? Is it time to formulate a new strategy for renewed growth?

Oceanic response

The $37.1 million US opening for the well-reviewed Ocean’s Thirteen did not quite match the performance of the previous entries in the franchise. Ocean’s Twelve, despite poor critical notices, hauled in $39.1 million in its first frame; Ocean’s Eleven did $38.1 million in its debut. Spider-Man 3 already has become Sony’s biggest worldwide grosser and appears headed to about $900 million worldwide. But after five weekends in release, it is running behind the domestic totals posted by the first two Spider-Man movies – which brings me to the question – are audiences fed up with sequels? Apparently not, because they still command mammoth weekend openings. The concern is why they lose steam a fortnight down the line.

( 06/12/2007 – Source: )

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