Movies

Raghav Bahl's movie biz revival plan

MUMBAI: Knocked down by a model that relied heavily on acquisitions, Network18 founder-promoter Raghav Bahl has reworked on the movie production business that he has moved to a joint venture company with Viacom as a partner.


Having snapped up The Indian Film Company that was listed on London‘s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), Bahl will now have movies rolled out from Viacom18, the company that also houses Hindi general entertainment channel Colors, MTV India, Nick and Vh1.


A cautious spender this time, Bahl has earmarked Rs 1.20 billion for a seven-movie slate that will run through early 2012. The peak funding requirement in a three-year horizon will be Rs 2.50 billion, sources familiar with the business plan say.


The early adventure has left the man who has built a television news and entertainment empire in quick time. But Bahl realises deep within that movies, however risky in nature, will have to constitute an important piece of the growth story, feeding content to Colors, the upcoming movie channel, a repositioned MTV and a growing Nick while pursuing the box office fortunes independently.


"We are in no hurry to deploy capital. We are in no hurry to produce the costliest movie. We are in a hurry to get it right," says Viacom18 Motion Pictures chief operating officer Vikram Malhotra.


For two years in a row, Bahl had got it right as The Indian Film Company got engaged in movies like Ghajini, Singh is Kinng, Jab We Met, Welcome and Golmaal Returns. But then came the downturn, capital became scarce and the studio churned out more flops than hits.


"The high-risk acquisition model suited the initial years when capital was easily available. Then came the bad years and the entire business environment for the film industry went through a turbulent change. TIFC lost more in value than the sector and there was need for a restructuring," admits Malhotra.


TIFC posted a net loss of ?4.56 million for the fiscal ended 31 March 2010 compared to a net profit of ?3.89 million a year ago. Revenue fell to ?19.88 million, as against ?40.90 million in FY‘09.


Nine films were released during FY‘10, all of which bombed at the box office. These included Shortkut - The Con is On, Luck, Life Partner, Fruit ‘N‘ Nut, London Dreams, Rann, Striker, Road, Movie and Hum Tum Aur Ghost.


The hard lesson learnt, Viacom18 Motion Pictures (rebranded) has decided to do away with buying "ready off the shelf" movies. The focus will be on own productions and co-productions where the company will be involved at every stage of the production process.


"We will not make first copy ready film acquisitions. The task is to build sustainability and capability with a strong focus on profitability. We are building the business brick-by-brick," says Malhotra.


Bahl‘s revival plan couldn‘t have come at a better time. The costs, gone beserk in the last few years, have corrected to a large extent. Also, the price of satellite TV telecast rights for movies is at a new high due to competition from the broadcasters, offering film producers a strong revenue opportunity outside the box office overhang. The worry is the marketing expense, which still remains high, but Viacom18 Motion Pictures is in a competitive advantageous position where it can leverage on its broadcasting power to shave off the flab.


"Our marketing costs will be 10-15 per cent lower due to the wide reach of our channels like Colors, MTV and Nick. There is a need for further correction in star costs but we will spend our pennies very carefully," says Malhotra, the new guard head Bahl is betting on to turnaround the movie business.


Viacom18 Motion Pictures will kick off its slate with a rom-com titled ‘Tanu Weds Manu‘ that will hit the screens on 25 February. This will be followed by two films that are co-productions with Anurag Kashyap - Michael (Working Title) & Shaitan. These films are set for release in the first quarter of the next fiscal year.


The most expensive movie in the slate is the Abbas Mustan-directed Players which is built on a budget of over Rs 400 million.


The roster also includes Gang of Waseeypur (2 Series), Buddah (starring Amitabh Bachchan) by Puri Jaganathan, and David Dhawan‘s Chashme Baddoor.


"We will weigh the financial success of each movie. The first two years will be a crucial build-up. In the third year, we will review the business and change track accordingly," says Malhotra.


The scale-up plan will involve creating franchise properties that will have a sliding cost model while upping box office revenues. "Players is positioned as a franchise property. We plan to have 2-3 properties in 2012. We are also going to have a minimum threshold of six movie releases a year," says Malhotra.


An important part of the gameplan is to produce movies in the urban-youth genre under the brand of ‘Tipping Point Films‘. This kind of targeted movies will also be content for MTV.


"We have projects in the urban-youth genre in co-production with Irock Media," says Malhotra.


Viacom18 Motion Pictures will distribute its own movies and has outfits in Mumbai, Delhi and UP territories. The distribution network is being expanded to the South markets, Rajasthan and the North.


"We have several advantages as we are part of a broadcasting network and Colors currently happens to be the leading acquirer of motion pictures content.We aim to be among the top three studios in the country within three years," says Malhotra.


In the highly unpredictable movie industry, Bahl has to get it right this time to reach the top of the ladder.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/16/judw2.jpg?itok=MoOLOx7y
Pre-Diwali period sees some flops

The pre-Diwali period saw a few flops. Judwaa2 saved the situation to some extent for the exhibition section providing relief with a considerable number of footfalls for a couple of weeks. Besides this, Newton was in news, a small film which got some favourable box office but more media hype as it...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/16/PVR.jpg?itok=aBQphPBl
PVR sub-brand in tier-III towns on anvil, engages fans with interactive card

NEW DELHI: Rs 21.8-billion multiplex chain PVR, which is aiming to touch 1000 screens by 2020 having crossed 600 recently, is likely to form another brand to tap tier-III towns. PVR sources confirmed to indiantelevision.com that the aim was to cater to every price category, and extend its reach to...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/16/Maiden_0.jpg?itok=p_6D8yMg
Maiden Indian film fest in Poland honours Koirala, Mittra

NEW DELHI: Wave Cinemas' CEO Rahul Mitra and actress Manisha Koirala were honoured with special awards at the first-ever Indian Film Festival in Poland (Warsaw). They also took part in the grand red carpet event at the iconic 'Kinoteka' theatre in the heart of Warsaw. A special audience of hundreds...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/10/judwa2_0.jpg?itok=OBtA8dpP
Judwa remake has an advantage over Chef

*Wrong time release and the film pays heavily. Much beyond its demerits. Pre-Diwali is the dullest period to release a new film but, even the best of production houses with years of standing still go ahead and do it. T Series released Chef in this dull period and, when asked, the explanation was...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/06/chef.jpg?itok=m6q0yYAq
Chef: Where is the audience?

Chef is a remake of 2014 Hollywood film of the same name, written, directed and co-produced by Jon Favreau, who also essayed the lead role.

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/06/Baahubali%202.jpg?itok=fvJMACwW
Baahubali 2 to premiere on Sony Max on 8 Oct

MUMBAI: Sony MAX, a Hindi movies channel from Sony Pictures Networks, is  bringing the epic saga from the Kingdom of Mahishmati, Baahubali 2: The conclusion. Directed by the showman of southern India movies, S.S. Rajamouli, this extravagant heroic tale of Baahubali will be premiering on Sony MAX...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/04/Eros.jpg?itok=MIhHrrc2
Eros seeks to protect stakeholder interest, files case against US short-sellers

MUMBAI: Eros International Plc has filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court against Mangrove Partners, Manuel P. Asensio, GeoInvesting, LLC, and numerous other individuals and entities.

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/03/Judwaa_2.jpg?itok=N4IPTHg_
Judwaa 2 hopes to entertain

*Judwaa 2 came after a long gap that was filled by mediocre and non-entertaining films. There were no films in the last few months which could draw out the families from home to watch a film. Two weeks before Diwali was not the right time to release a film but, to counter that, there was also a...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/09/30/Judwaa_2.jpg?itok=RqiAwhEs
Judwaa 2….Rides on long weekend

Ideas are in short-supply. Shortcuts are the norm. And, as a producer of repute, if you are getting a package deal to make some quick money, why not?

Movies Hindi

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories