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Eros to propel digital play in July with campaign; defers Pay TV strategy

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MUMBAI: Indian entertainment company Eros International Plc is betting big on digital play with its over the top (OTT) platform ErosNow. Come July and the company will unveil its exclusive movie line-up as well as original shows on the platform.

In order to push its offerings on ErosNow, the company will launch a marketing campaign around its movie premieres (pre-television, post-theatrical window), as well as original shows.

What’s more, Eros has deferred its plans to launch pay TV channels as was planned earlier and will instead focus on strengthening its position in the OTT arena. The company had plans to launch a Hindi movie channel and a music channel.

Even as the company’s television licensing revenues continue to be strong on the back of digitization and constitutes over 35 per cent of its revenues; in the light of its new focus on its OTT space, Eros’ strategy will be to premiere films on ErosNow and then syndicate them to television channels around the world after that window closes.

In FY-2015, digital and ancillary segments of the company contributed revenues of $59.9 million as compared to $47.7 million in FY-2014. The company’s other two primary revenue streams theatrical and television syndication contributed revenue of $123.1 million and $101.2 million respectively in FY-2015 as compared to $107.5 million and $80.3 million respectively in FY-2014.

Eros International managing director and CEO Jyoti Deshpande said, “Our pre-launch phase of ErosNow has been very successful with 19 million registered users globally, up 35.7 per cent from the 14 million users we announced in February 2015. We believe the combination of being an early mover, our unique studio assets, and the high market share of our extensive library positions us to be the leading player in the Indian digital entertainment industry.”

Eros International reported 20.7 per cent growth in revenue to $284.3 million in FY-2015 (year ended 31 March, 2015) as compared to the $235.5 million in the previous year. Currency comparable revenues increased by 22.4 per cent.

For the quarter ended 31 March, 2015 (Q4-2015), the company reported 39.8 per cent (currency comparable revenues increased by 40.7 per cent) revenue growth to $88.5 million as compared to the $63.3 million in the corresponding year ago quarter.

Eros reported 32.9 per cent increment in net income to $49.3 million in FY-2015 from the $37.1 million in FY-2014. Net income in Q4-2015 more than tripled (3.01 times) the $19.4 million as compared to the $6.4 million in Q4-2014.

Deshpande added, “Our fourth quarter and full year results demonstrate the strength and scalability of our business, our dominant leadership position and our ability to capitalize on the growing and underpenetrated Indian media, entertainment and digital industry.”

“Our growth from non-Diaspora international markets shows a growing appetite for Bollywood content in many new markets. One of our strongest potential markets, China, with a market size of $4.8 billion and over 23,600 screens, is projected to soon surpass Hollywood as the largest film market in the world. Our latest collaboration agreements with Chinese Film Corp and Shanghai Film Group to co-produce and distribute Sino-Indian films are important steps in maximizing our opportunity in China.”

Eros’ television syndication revenue remained strong in fiscal year 2015, with an over 50 per cent increase quarter-on-quarter, with high and medium budget films helping Eros syndicate attractive bundles of new and library films.

Eros group executive chairman Kishore Lulla said, “By creating the first studio model in India and achieving 20 times growth in the last ten years to now over $100 million in adjusted EBITDA, Eros has successfully completed its first pioneering effort in transforming the Indian film industry and becoming its global leader. Looking forward, our goal now is to pioneer yet again using the strength of our films and our exciting ErosNow platform to become the leading Indian digital entertainment company globally.”

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