Star set to push home videos in UK; looks next at Canada, SE Asia

MUMBAI: When Peter E Poon, general manager Fortune Star (the Star Group's distribution and licensing arm) met Indiantelevision.comat Cannes during MipTV in April, he had said that the first part of his three-fold roadmap ahead would be to set up the video market internationally for Indian content - UK, Canada, US, Malaysia and Singapore in particular. This would entail tying together the full product distribution chain from wholesalers, retailers right down to individual consumers.

Speaking to in Cannes at the recently concluded Mipcom 2005, Poon provided an update on the home video initiative with regard to not just Indian but also Chinese content.

Fortune Star has just announced in the UK that it is inviting bids for the licensing rights to its extensive library of Indian dramas, comedies, and tele-films (mainly in Hindi and also in Tamil). Poon said he was on schedule to make a similar announcement for South East Asia by November-December and the Canada territory (mainly Vancouver and Toronto) within the first quarter of 2006. This would constitute the first stage of Fortune Star's India content game plan, Poon said.

Referring to his Chinese content library, Poon informed that a deal for the Portugal and Spain territories had just been announced. Other territories where deals were already in place, mainly for 645 film titles, were Canada, US, Germany, France, UK and SE Asia, Poon said.

Next on the anvil after the home video distribution pipeline has been stabilised is:

    Aggressively ramp up TV licensing to multicultural broadcasters and TV stations.

    Leverage mobile platforms. The Chinese experience will be the template that India will be following because Star China is way ahead of India in this.

According to Poon's earlier estimates, it will take three years to set up the "content pipeline" so that product delivery is seamless and consistent. "Distribution before production", is how he termed it.

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