interview with Moser Baer (entertainment business) CEO Harish Dayani|
video business model will be viable for those who price it right
on 11 June 2007|
Baer is shaking up the home video market with its low pricing. While VCDs are
available at Rs 28, DVDs are priced at Rs 34.
Will the market
dynamics change as new players like Adlabs hatch plans to enter the business?
In an interview with Indiantelevision.com's Sibabrata Das
and Ashwin Pinto, Moser Baer entertainment business CEO Harish Dayani elaborates
on how the home video market will never be the same.
Why did Moser Baer decide to get into the entertainment and home video market?
Moser Baer is the world's second largest optical storage manufacturer. As
we make 10 million discs a day, we have economies of scale. We can manufacture
a disc at a price that not too many people in the world can match. Having such
a strong backend in this form of business, we were somewhere in the commodity
space. The obvious forward integration for us was to add content. In India, there
is nothing like entertainment as far as replication on a product like a disc is
concerned. This is where the whole thing started around a year ago - and we had
the money to do it.
When several home video players like Time have folded up, what made you think
that Moser Baer could fix it right?
We felt there were gaps in the industry
which we could fill. The home video market is fragmented and has local players.
We saw an opportunity in this to have a pan India presence. Distribution is another
area that needed attention. Also, consumer branding is important.
How did you take care of the content?
We realized that if we were to be
a major player, we needed to own content on a large scale. We acquired 7000 movie
titles and have become the largest content owner, controlling one-third of the
entire film production chain. We picked up content from different sources (including
from Time). We decided to be the first company that deals with home video in all
Isn't regional films a significant component of this?
We have close to
1800 Hindi titles. The rest is regional - Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Punjabi, etc.
Besides, we have around 600 international titles sourced mainly from independent
how do you source top content when the big Bollywood studios like Yash Raj Films
have set up their own home video labels?
We simply can't. But there are
many who don't have their home video labels. And we ourselves will be in the film
Pricing seems to be an important strategy for Moser Baer. How much volumes do
you have to reach to make this a profitable business model?
that Moser Baer sells products at a low price. For us, price was the outcome of
other factors; it definitely was not the starting point. Surely, we wanted to
have a pricing that the masses would find attractive. So we priced DVDs at Rs
34 and VCDs at Rs 28. And it is not that we are operating under negative margins.
When you start buying big Bollywood movies and have to pay a high content cost,
will your operating margins not puncture?
We have all kinds of movies.
For me, a 1950 film is as important as Munnabhai as it will generate a certain
amount of interest among a certain section of audience and be commercially viable.
The concept of old and new movies are irrelevant. In terms of recent titles, we
have films like Life Mein Kabhie Kabhie, Ek Chalis Ki Last Local. Apne has yet
to come. We also have two films of Venus.
How do you align with the international studios as they are already having exclusive
distribution deals with the other home video players?
We will be busy
for a year with the amount of titles that we have. Even if we release 30 titles
a day, it will take me over a year and I am not a magician. In terms of tying
up with big international studios, the question is in terms of adding value. We
are setting up our business. When we have established ourselves, then we can talk
to other players with confidence and authority. We have to demonstrate how our
business model works.
How are you sprucing up your distribution network?
When we were toying
with the idea of entering into the home video market, we realized that we could
have a strong backend but that does not necessarily make for a business model.
Home video distribution, or for that matter the entire entertainment distribution,
is wholesale-oriented. Entertainment firms have a few select group of wholesalers;
what the wholesalers do after they get the product, nobody knows. We felt the
need for a distribution network that is similar to an FMCG system. We wanted to
have our own distributors spread across the country.
home video businesses have 20-40 distributors across the country. We have 500.
We feel that every town must have a distributor. We do not want to depend on a
wholesaler in a large town who will cater to a small town. We tell distributors
to give the product to retailers in their area. Entertainment product in this
country is available in some 20,000 stores. Our product is available in 100,000
shops and we are just two months old. The aim is to take this to a chain of 300,000.
What are the margins you are offering to the distributors?
distributor has a five per cent margin while the retailer enjoys a 25 per cent
video market is fragmented and has local players. We saw an opportunity in this
to have a pan India presence. We decided to be the first company that deals with
home video in all languages'
How crucial is branding as part of Moser Baer's strategy?
The myth in
the entertainment industry is that people just go and buy titles at any price
and it does not matter who is selling them. We want to break that myth. Our message
is that Moser Baer is adding a lot of value in terms of the quality of manufacture.
We have a certain image. It is not just Munnabhai MBBS; it is Moser Baer Munabhai
MBBS. It is important that we reinforce faith in our product in the mind of the
Will you have your own stores as part of the branding exercise?
two - one in Pondicherry and the other in Ahmedabad. We will have 50 by the end
of the year and 250 by the end of 2008.
has the deal with Pyramid Saimira helped expand your reach?|
makes and distributes films. We have the first right of refusal for home video
rights. They also have a chain of theatres and have deals with malls. We are looking
at opening Moser Baer franchisee stalls there. Our products will be available
in the vicinity where people come. We are also talking to tie up with other theatre
and mall owners.
you looking at entering the rental market?|
Firstly, this is an unauthorised
business. If someone buys a Moser Baer disc for commercial exploitation, then
it is against the law. We do not have plans to enter the rental business. However,
we are not trying to discourage this. If somebody approaches us to do business
with them, we would consider licensing our content.
about getting into alliances with broadcasters so that you can acquire wholesome
We look at satellite content only if we find that we are not getting
the home video rights. Do I need to align with other players? If I have 7000 titles
and another firm comes up to me and says that he also has 7000 titles, then we
might join hands to tackle the market together. This way we can take our own decisions
that would be best for us.
are the plans on the film production front?
We have signed a co-production
deal with filmmaker Anubhav Sinha for a basket of 12 movies. We have also signed
up with Anthony D'Souza (Ishaan) and Priyadarshan. We are also negotiating with
four big filmmakers. The first movie to kick off, though, is Shaurya.
will also produce movies that we will release for the home video market. This
should happen sooner than later. We also plan to get into the film distribution
business but at a later stage.
you looking at producing regional language movies?|
We have signed with
Prakash Raj for three films in Tamil and are also looking at other languages.
Our eventual aim is to make films in all languages.
much are you pumping in for your entertainment business?
We intend to
invest Rs 5 billion over three years. A major chunk of this, of course, will be
towards the home video business.
low pricing, what growth can we expect in the home video sector?|
is that it would grow at four to five times the current size in three years. We
want to have a 50 per cent share of this.
the home video market dynamics up for total change?
Will consumers look
at our price and wonder why other titles from other firms are priced much higher?
Possibly. That is for them to decide. Some players may charge higher but eventually
the price will come down from where it is now for everybody. I don't believe premium
or popular content can command a three figure price. The home video business model
will be viable for those who are able to stay around in it.
have moved into HD DVD. Won't the conflict between the two incompatible formats
Blu Ray and HD DVD prevent quick uptake of the technology?|
This is still
five years away from happening in India. VCD players still dominate, though the
number of DVD homes is growing.
Moser Baer nurture ambitions of eventually becoming a studio?|
is happening in the entertainment space across the globe. This will also happen
in India. Corporates are entering into the movie business and aggregation is taking
place. We are also trying to be in the different entertainment value chains.
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