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10 Key trends in the movie biz by Siddharth Roy Kapur

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The Hindi film industry is at an interesting crossroads ? one that will define the next phase of growth for the business ? both creatively and commercially.

For anyone involved in the movie business in India today, it is an exciting and a challenging time. Exciting because there are so many moving parts that the sheer adrenalin of navigating through them and achieving commercial and creative success can give you a headrush. Challenging because the choices we make today as an industry could determine the trajectory for a whole future generation of studios, filmmakers, actors,

technicians and audiences.

The 10 key trends are:

1. Growth of Exhibition platforms and digitalisation of cinemas: The advent of the multiplex culture and the digitalisation of cinemas has completely changed the dynamics for audiences, exhibitors, distributors and producers.

Films will become much more accessible to the audiences in remote towns via satellite technology, thereby

reducing costs and making it more feasible and cost effective to further increase the penetration of cinema into the hinterland of the country.

2. Marketing and Promotions: Skilfully executed marketing and PR initiatives are increasingly contributing to the good opening weekend of a movie. It plays an aggressive role in driving a film through the ?media noise corridor? right from pre-production all the way to release and beyond.

Creating the right noise from the very initial stages of the film to post production stages has become an imperative function coupled with innovation and ongoing market research for every film.

3. New Revenue streams: The advent of new emerging platforms and technologies will pave the way for newer revenue streams for the film industry apart from the box office and other traditional sources of revenue. Innovations like 3G and 4G will change the dynamics of the movie watching experience, creating new access points for consumers across the world.

4. Short and Entertaining: Audiences of today especially the 15-24-year-olds, which form the most significant part of the Indian population and are popularly known as the impatient generation, have a preference for more snacky and short form content.

New age directors who can feel the pulse of these audiences are very capable of delivering content that will soon bring in the trend of watching short format entertaining content on non theatrical platforms.

5. De-risking ? Today a studio does not have solely the opening weekend box office collections dictating the commercial fate of the film. Pre-sales deals which include satellite rights, music rights, home video rights and new media rights sometimes help recover 40- 45 per cent of the production cost of the film. Moreover, an established studio with a strong slate of 12- 15 movies a year, today has the advantage of being able to derisk an entire slate of productions well in advance of their theatrical release.

6. Going Regional - The increasing preference amongst audiences for local flavours rather than standardisation in content will see regional cinema growing in the coming years, and demanding a share in

the larger pie of the Indian film industry.

7. Co-productions: The entry of Hollywood studios into the local production sector have increased manifold. Considering that some countries have reached a saturation point, while others have stringent protectionist policies in favour of local cinema, India is an emerging media and entertainment hot spot for international players.

8. Existing paucity of trained talent: The industry today does not see many trained specialists, the reasons being lack of structured film schools and frankly inadequate credit and compensation to talent other than those seen on screen. If this is addressed, it will have a lasting impact on the quality and commerce of our cinema.

9. Changes in legislation ? Various amendments to existing laws have been proposed, which will have a direct impact on the functioning of the industry. In this process, it is imperative for the legislators to keep in mind all sides of an issue, rather than be swayed by specific interest groups. The entire commercial dynamics of the industry could be decided simply based on a few of these amendments, and hence the required due diligence must be put in before pronouncing judgement.

10. No distinction beween art and commercial cinema - And finally, a new breed of filmmakers who no longer believe in making a distinction between ?art? and ?commercial? cinema. They are open to telling new stories and experimenting with new genres in an entertaining manner? the key to making it interesting for audiences to try new fare! It is very encouraging to see so many studios today supporting and encouraging new talent, and I am sure this heralds a very exciting time in our cinema. A time in which all sorts of cinema can co-exist and achieve commercial and creative success.

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