To meet the new level of demand, and faced with a newer & competitive environment that demands more professionalism and better strategies, Bollywood has been pushed to change their business model. It is under pressure to change its ways.
The Hindi movie-making business has undergone a sea-change in the last decade or so. The scales have become bigger, there’s a huge international market to be tapped in addition to its already huge domestic market, there’s competition from Hollywood films who’re going for big and same-day releases in India.
Now, you see a more professional Hindi film industry that is driven by foreign and domestic institutional money. Foreign consumers and tourism departments are increasingly drawing the attention of Bollywood towards their offerings.
The newer environment requires:
- Better business models that focus on untapped revenue streams
- Requires better digitized distribution networks that can cater to the global audience
- Requires improved filmmaking technology
- Needs better ways to counter piracy.
Bollywood star Kajol (who has starred with Shahrukh Khan in several blockbusters) says things have changed dramatically since she first started and Bollywood has become huge.
“Even small things like vanity vans [trailers], we didn’t have that 15 years ago. The machinery has taken on a whole new level. Suddenly you have people with specialisms, suddenly everyone’s more professional and it’s feasible to make different kinds of films. There is an array of scripts that aren’t just ideas in people’s heads any more. And it’s not just about the youngest and the best. Thank God that phase is over.”
Need to tap the newer models
Film-makers have to really think hard. They have to ask questions like what does it take to get a person into a cinema and make him pay 50 [rupees] or 250 [rupees] to watch a film. That has always been a challenge, but now they will have to find newer ways to do it. The great thing is that the technology is out there, newer models are coming in.
Figuring out newer ways to distribute films, especially globally, is a challenge.
Currently, this is the only industry that does a worldwide release on the same day. Many experts feel there were more models on how to release films, as home video market is slated to grow from the current share, and overseas theatrical distribution is also likely to increase going ahead.
Foreign investors keen to invest in India
Venture capitalists, corporations, foreign studios are looking to invest in Indian films, and they have good reason to be drawn to the Indian film industry.
“A billion people watching films, possibly more than once a week, are numbers you can’t ignore. India has the largest film industry in the world; we produce almost a thousand films a year, which is more than Hollywood. Yet, the average ticket price for an Indian film is the equivalent of about 50 cents, as opposed to US$9 to US$11 in the United States. You do the math,” says Mr. Amitabh Bachchan.
Need to tackle piracy
Every dollar, or rupee, saved from pirates is as good as earned, and almost everybody in the industry agrees that piracy is a major issue in India.
In Western markets, film piracy is almost negligible because of the laws that are in place. Pirates do their job better than the studios in distribution; it is prevalent because a demand exists.
Piracy eats up to 60% of the Indian film industry’s revenues every year. That is a huge amount and nothing is being done about it. What upsets most film-makers is that when somebody watches a pirated DVD, the audiences are being robbed of a chance to see the film the way it should be seen. Aspects like good projection, good sound systems, good seating matter but then one cannot experience those watching pirated versions. All these make a movie going experience so much better.