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Indian film industry attracts investors amid challenges

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MUMBAI: The Indian film industry is buoyant and is generating a lot of investor interests globally. However, it is marred by multiple challenges including a huge gap between investors and creative pieces, industry experts opined at a panel discussion at the 13th edition of Ficci Frames here.

India is one of the biggest producers of films. “However, out of 1,200 odd films that were released last year, only 100 were studio produced,” said Moxie Entertainment MD and independent filmmaker Soumo Ganguly. “This clearly means that the other 1,100 films were made of independent funding either by banks or with the help of high net worth individuals, family, friends and relatives.”

Ganguly said it is a challenging task to always depend on such funding and, hence, difficult to find finance.

Speaking about a large pool of capital available by the way of private equity, Ambit Group CEO Ashok Wadhwa pointed out that while securing finance from high net worth individuals is an option, the challenge arises when the investor does not understand creative pieces.

On a different note, Wadhwa also advised aspiring filmmakers to be absolutely certain about their finances. “I would like to advise aspiring movie makers to not start their projects unless they have 100 per cent of the film expenditure secured in their bank accounts,” he said.

Speaking about revenues generated through selling of television rights, Blackstone senior managing director of private equity Mathew Cyriac said that the producers are generating more revenue from selling movie telecast rights to broadcasters rather than box office collections.

“Television is becoming a bigger distribution point for movies. In Kerala, 50-60 per cent of movies get acquired by general entertainment channels. Similar is the case with Karnataka and other southern markets,” Cyriac said.

Talking about the challenges in movie making business, he said that the studio model is yet to emerge in India.

“Studio business in India is the early 1950s equivalent of business in the United States. Hence venture capital flavour of investment is seen more in India,” he said.

Speaking of combining the best of investor and creative pieces to create a hybrid model, Hollywood-based The Allegiance Theater founder and partner Daniel Dubiecki said that it would be fruitful to bring together venture capitalists and studios models.

“Group of angel investors have increased, which it is good news for the movie business,” he pointed out.

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