UTV licenses home video rights to Moser Baer

MUMBAI: After distributing 15 Hindi movies, UTV Software Communications is apparently exiting the home video business.

The company has entered into a strategic alliance with Moser Baer Entertainment Limited (MBEL), selling its exclusive home video distribution rights for 25 movies. UTV has been paid an undisclosed MG (minimum guarantee) amount and after a particular threshhold is reached, it will also enjoy a revenue share with Moser Baer.

As per the alliance, MBEL will get domestic rights to UTV‘s home video catalogue which comprises 10 Bollywood films. Moser Baer Entertainment will also get home video rights to all UTV productions released until mid 2009.

The acquisition gives Moser Baer Entertainment access to premium content from UTV, which is planning to release 15 new films over the next six months.

Says UTV Motion Pictures CEO Siddharth Roy Kapur, "The home video business in India is growing significantly and with the kind of revenue potential it has, it can no longer be seen as just another ancillary revenue stream. It makes strategic sense for us to license home video rights of our films to a company like Moser Baer Entertainment, which has particular expertise in this area and is instrumental in growing the home video market in the country. This gives our movies unparalleled access to millions of potential new viewers."

UTV will also hand over the home video rights to the slate of world cinema titles it has acquired. "We will be doing a separate deal with Moser Baer for world movies in the first quarter of next year," Kapur says.

The DVDs for the Hindi movies are being priced at Rs 99. The time window for DVD will vary between 4-8 weeks of theatrical release.

Says MBEL CEO Harish Dayani, "Moser Baer‘s entertainment business is working towards the consolidation of the home video space in India. Our strategy is based on the twin pillars of affordable prices to curb piracy and everywhere distribution to drive mass consumption. UTV has emerged in recent times as one of the leading studios in the country and its home video titles add lustre to our product line. This development further reinforces our position as the dominant player in the home video space in India."

Moser Baer has a predominant collection of catalogue movies. The deal with UTV will help it to expand widely into new film content.

Moser Baer is also looking at releasing sports DVDs over the next six months, Dayani adds.

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