Friday, 24 March 2017

Lack of cinema screens, piracy, high ticket prices at multiplexes & new movies on TV reducing the number of footfalls in cinemas houses

MUMBAI, 23 March 2017. Lack of cinema screens, piracy, high pricing of tickets at multiplexes and new movies being broadcasted on television three months after release have reduced the number of footfalls in the cinemas considerably and was making it difficult to raise the market share. However, the emergence of digital platforms has opened new vistas for monetization for movies.

This was the unanimous view of the panellists at the session on ‘Bollywood in trouble? Will Hollywood and Regional take over? Is Indian Cinema in any kind of trouble?’ on day three of FICCI FRAMES 2017.

Mr. Sameer Nair, Group CEO, Balaji Telefilms, said that regional cinema was being aggressively promoted by state governments by way of various sops but this was not a threat to Bollywood in any way. He added that one way of raising the dipping footfalls could be raising the TV viewing window of new movies to six months.    

Mr. Nair said that the genesis of falling cinemagoers was the lack of screens in the country and high price of tickets. He added that the Bollywood was aware of the fact that the audience for Hollywood movies was increasing and giving a tough competition to Hindi cinema and models were being worked upon to maintain a balance.    

Mr. Venky Mysore, CEO, Red Chillies Entertainment, said that the challenge for Bollywood was to increase its market which was now constricted. There was a need for change in the business model of Bollywood and it was taking place gradually and the shift was visible. Mr. Myosre said that piracy was one of the biggest threat to the film industry and Bollywood stakeholders needed to come together to resolve the issue.

Mr. Ajit Andhare, Chief Operating Officer, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, said that Hollywood was localizing its content better and a at faster pace than Bollywood was globalizing itself and Hindi movies needed to do the crossover to raise its market share. There were operational problems and increasing economic pressure were some of the issues that Bollywood was grappling with. He said that there was no incentive for consumers to go the cinema halls and the multiplexes’ high prices had moved a chunk of audiences away. He added that studios have been closing down and the fundamentals of film economies had to be enhanced. The strategic players will remain in the business who could play their strategic asset on digital platforms and broadcast it.

Speaking on overcoming the issue of piracy, Mr. Suresh Babu, President, Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce, said that strong trade bodies were needed to combat piracy and committed and passionate producers and stakeholders were needed to push the agenda, which was lacking in Bollywood. Piracy can be reduced but the cause needed champions and good leaders who could take the fight ahead.   

Mr. Babu said that audiences were being alienated by multiplies as they were removing a certain type of cinema for which there was an audience base. He added that in Telugu film industry, irrespective of the budget of the movie, the publicity in newspapers remained similar for all films and the same was done for television promotion to the extent possible, which kept the marketing cost in check allowing all kinds of cinema the same visibility.  

The session was moderated by Mr. Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios.

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