Television

'When it comes to prime Hindi movie entertainment, it is B4U Movies that the viewer will switch to' : Ravi Gupta CEO of B4U Worldwide

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2016/01/30/Ravi%20Gupta.jpg?itok=ZmlvxlJ0

Suddenly, there seems to be more to the Hindi entertainment television scenario than Star, Sony and Zee. There is a buzz around B4U Television Network, which relaunched B4U Entertainment as B4U Movies on 2 October. B4U Movies and sister channel B4U Music look and feel like the best thing in their particular genres.

Great clarity, a slick feel and a growing cachet with audiences auger well for both B4U Music and B4U Movies.

ndiantelevision.com‘s Thomas Abraham met a relaxed CEO Ravi Gupta recently over lunch after a well attended press conference announcing the launch of B4U Movies. Excerpts from the conversation:

Your network seems to have offloaded all the negative baggage that the January arrest of diamond merchant and stakeholder Bharat Shah brought on you. Can you tell me something about the financials of the network?

In the current year B4U will show operating profits of $ 2 million. This is for the network as a whole. It should be remembered that B4U Music achieved operational profits in the first year itself (B4U launched its Music Channel in May 2000 and B4U Entertainment in September 2000). So the figures are very encouraging.

We are looking at total revenues of $ 20 million this fiscal, with operating costs at $ 18 million. We expect to achieve a net profit of $ 4 million after amortisation by March 2003.

So have you put the Bharat Shah episode behind you?



I would be lying if I said that Bharat Shah‘s arrest did not hit us but today it is not really an issue. That is not to say we don‘t wish him well. There is still a strategic alliance in place. There are a number of issues that are still to be resolved on that front but they cannot be dealt with when he is still in custody.

What is the investment that has gone into the network till date?



Over the last two years Rs 3000 million has been pumped into the channel. Mainly through the lead promoters steel magnate L N Mittal, Kishore Lulla and Gokul Binani, all based in the UK. (Lulla is also the promoter of Eros International LTD, the largest overseas film distributor and the first to take Hindi movies to the UK and the US.)

How are you raising money? Are you looking at an IPO?



We are certainly looking for ways to raise money. And the route we are taking is through capital or debt or creative financing. We are looking at an IPO sometime around September 2002.

A lot of companies have talked of IPOs but they have never seen the light of day. So what makes you feel you will fare any better?

See, when you go to the public you should be able to offer them something which gives them a reasonable return on investment. It is also important what is the price that you are offering your share at. When we go in for an IPO it will be after having audited our accounts for 2002. In addition we will have completed two quarters of 2002 which will give the investor a clear picture as to where exactly we stand as far as our financials are concerned.

How much do you expect to raise?



At least a 100 crores (Rs 1000 million). That is the very least that we are looking at.

What about film production? Are you looking in that direction?



We are looking at production, financing and distribution of movies. We see a natural backward integration in terms of production as well as distribution.

Do you have any projects in the pipeline where you are the producer?



We will not take on the actual production work. I look at the Canal Plus model. Where we ensure fund flow to creative productions.

What is the strength of your movie library?



We hold rights to 1,000 films in India and overseas rights of 1,600 films.

What of new titles? After all that is what brings in the viewers.



Seventy movies under production are signed with B4U at the moment. And considering that the total Hindi film output in India in a year is 180 that gives an idea of how much we have things covered.

By 2003, we hope to achieve a scenario where 50 per cent of revenues will be out of India.



Coming back to B4U entertainment. What was the investment that you put into the serials that were on the channels?



We spent roughly 24 crores (Rs 240 million) on the serials.

So you‘ve had to write them off?



Not really. For instance we have managed to sell some to (national broadcaster Doordarshan‘s) DD Metro. And we hope to sell the other serials as well. But yes, we may have to write some of them off.

B4U has quite a presence abroad. How extensive is your reach?



We are present in over 100 countries worldwide where there are strong Indian populations. We launched in Canada last month and expect to launch in Australia next quarter.

How much of your revenues come from abroad?



At present 70 per cent of our revenues come from our overseas operations. By 2003 we hope to achieve a scenario where 50 per cent of revenues will be out of India.

It was announced that B4U movies would be encrypted by January 2002. Is that still your target?



That is too early. We expect B4U Movies to go pay in the second quarter of 2002.

There are so many movie channels now available. What makes you so confident that B4U movies will be able to stand out?



In the US too there are many movie channels. But it‘s HBO that stands out. When it comes to prime Hindi movie entertainment, it is B4U Movies that the viewer will switch to.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/15/mur.jpg?itok=Hql64_2L
21st CF spins-off into new live news & sports co Fox

MUMBAI: After the blockbuster acquisition of 21st Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company, the former has announced that it will spinoff into a new brand Fox’ that will seek to replicate its own success in the newly focussed verticals of live news and sports brands. Using fiscal 2017 as a base, the...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/15/uday.jpg?itok=0wuMIwoY
With Star India, Disney emerges as India's largest M&E firm

MUMBAI: Unlike the US, where the merger of The Walt Disney Co and 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets is between two near equals, the scenario in India is totally different. 21st Century Fox’s India venture Star India is a $1.7 billion dollar media and entertainment behemoth while Disney India...

Television TV Channels People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/14/bob.jpg?itok=zPgBgsME
Disney to buy 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4 billion

The Walt Disney Co has set up a $52.4 billion, all-stock deal to acquire 20th Century Fox and other entertainment and sports assets from Rupert Murdoch’s empire.

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/14/mania.jpg?itok=Jb64uy53
MOVIES NOW brings #StopDreamingAndStartWinning with 100 Mania Season 5 for its viewers

Movies Now, India’s english movie channel, rings in the festive season with its property ‘100 Mania’, beginning Friday, 15 December at 9pm. In its 5th season, the channel has curated a line-up of some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters like Furious 7, Jurassic World, Disney’s The Jungle Book,...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/14/spn.jpg?itok=yceBilrp
SPN India to telecast Real Madrid vs Barcelona at 4:30 pm

Less than two weeks to Christmas and Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN) launches its “Christmas Comes Early” campaign as a build-up to the biggest football clash of the year, El Clasico.

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/14/Jayantilal_Gada.jpg?itok=-ygDcfK4
PEN to launch Hindi music channel Dream TV

MUMBAI: Despite the glut of pure-play Hindi music channels on television today, Popular Entertainment Network (PEN) is adding one more to the fray. The new channel, called Dream TV, will provide 24-hour programming.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/14/Bert_Habets.jpg?itok=_3lbVIV6
RTL Group restructures top management

MUMBAI: There’s change at the top at RTL Group–which owns Fremantle Media and operates a clutch of 61 TV channels–including RTL CBS and RTL CBS Extreme–and 30 radio stations in Europe. At his own behest, Guillaume de Posch will step down as co-CEO of RTL Group, effective 1 January 2018. He will...

Television TV Channels People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/13/james.jpg?itok=rGws6itt
Disney expected to announce 21 CF buyout tomorrow: media reports

The Mouse House is closing in on the Fox. Media reports have emerged that Disney’s bid to acquire the Murdoch-owned 21st Century Fox (21 CF Fox) group’s entertainment assets is near closure. The price being talked about is anywhere between $60 billion and $68 billion and an announcement is...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/13/zee-tamil.jpg?itok=zryzfAwz
World television premiere of Maragadha Naanayam on Zee Tamil

Zee Tamil announced the world television premiere of critically acclaimed Maragadha Naanayam – the fantasy-comedy-thriller film that features Aadhi Pinisetty and Nikki Galrani on Sunday, 17 December at 4:00 PM only on Zee Tamil. Written and directed by ARK Saravan, the movie is a perfect blend of...

Television TV Channels Regional

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories