Addressable platforms offer huge revenue upscale for filmmakers

MUMBAI: The Bollywood industry has something to look forward to from emerging addressable platforms like Direct-to-home (DTH) and IPTV.

Tata Sky will offer several dedicated movie and audio channels as part of its product package to lure subscribers away from the cable networks. "Movie-on-demand will allow consumers to view the latest films without ad clutters. They also can do away with pirated VCDs where quality is poor. We are showing a movie on multiple timings and this is quite popular with our subscribers," said Tata Sky head consumer marketing Vikram Mehra. He was speaking at a session on the home entertainment segment.

Tata Sky has already touched a subscriber base of 250,000 and is on target to achieve one million within a year of operations, Mehra added.

Film producers and broadcasters suffered from a loss of revenues due to piracy and under-reporting of subscribers by cable operators. Having had to suffer from bad video quality, film producers can now tap an additional revenue stream with its addressable system of reporting subscriber figures, said Mehra. "Digital addressable system will keep all the stakeholders happy. The ground is ready for DTH to take off," he added.

Home entertainment in India offers only 7-8 per cent of total revenue collections for a film, while in the US it was as high as 65 per cent, said Silicon Image president and CEO Steve Tirado, while speaking at the same session.

As digital content travels across devices, home would form an important part of the media distribution strategy. The challenge was to work out a digital interface across various devices.

About 73 per cent of American households would rather watch movies at home as 80 per cent of them own DVD players. "Content will roam among devices. Storage will also form a critical part of home entertainment. Scheduled viewing is in permanent decline except for spectacles and live sports," Tirado said.

Fighting piracy was what all the speakers agreed would be at the core of generating more revenues. "We have to evolve a strong distribution network to combat this. Besides, penetration shouldn't be the only focus and companies have to come out with strategies to get prices up," said Saregama India MD Subroto Chattopadhyay.

Speaking on the international business of home entertainment, Shemaroo CEO Hiren Gada said theatrical collections accounted for 60 per cent of overseas earnings. There was potential to rake in more money from territories outside the US (which contributed 30 per cent), UK (28 per cent) and UAE (20 per cent). Piracy and high acquisition prices were among the red flags that threatened the sector, he added.

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