The last few years have seen considerable changes in the Indian film industry and the Indian ‘filmed entertainment’ market.
The biggest innovation has been the emergence of a group of Indian media corporations, each of which has adopted a policy of developing a ‘pan-Indian’ and international presence across a range of film-related activities. Previously, companies tended to concentrate on one major market (usually Bollywood) and one or two sectors such as production or distribution, film or DVD. Now, each of the following corporations has at least announced an intention to become involved in production and distribution of films from more than one Indian language cinema. Each corporation also has interests in either film exhibition or DVD distribution as well as links to new media and television and/or music. In addition each corporation is looking to consolidate its presence overseas in both traditional and new markets for Indian filmed entertainment. Inevitably this means a number of co-production and distribution deals with Hollywood majors. In a bullish market, despite world-wide economic recession, each of these corporations promotes itself as the biggest this or that in India. One of our aims on the blog will be to try to follow what these corporations get up to and how they are influencing the changes in India’s film environment.
UMP (UTV Motion Pictures) – part of UTV Media
This group has been one of the most prominent in developing partnerships with Hollywood companies as well as seeing opportunities in relationships with independent companies. It helped produce and distribute Mira Nair’s The Namesake in India and supports Farhan Akhtar’s Excel Entertainment. UMP was the first Indian company to announce that it had set up a ‘Western-style’ studio production system in 2007 and an Indian-wide distribution system. The company has long-term deals with both Disney and Fox Searchlight and has started a second production brand, UTV Spotboy for projects outside Bollywood. It has also recently introduced a ‘World Cinema’ channel on Indian television.
The company headed by veteran Hindi Cinema producer Yash Chopra (a leading figure in Hindi film since the 1960s) has developed from a production company formed in 1973 into a fully-fledged studio operation with distribution in India and worldwide in both film and DVD and also in music. Yash Raj and Eros have competed for top spot in NRI markets in the UK and the US since the 1990s.
Alongside Yash Raj, Eros is another company with a long history in distribution and has been especially important in distributing Hindi Cinema outside India in Europe and North America since the 1970s. In 2008, Ayngaran, the principal distributor of Tamil films outside India, became part of Eros International, increasing the spread of Eros’ operations significantly.
Part of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group and also trading as Adlabs, this company derives from the empire built up by Dhirubhai Ambani, starting from textiles and growing to encompass many of India’s major industrial sectors
Moser Baer Entertainment
Part of Moser Baer India Ltd, a global technology company that only moved into filmed entertainment in 2006. As the ‘second biggest manufacturer of optical media in the world, the company has attempted to establish itself as the No 1 provider of DVD and VCD filmed entertainment in India with low-cost disks in every Indian language – with up to 10,000 titles planned for release. The company is now also involved in film production.
This Chennai-based group is involved in every aspect of filmed entertainment, including cinema exhibition, catering, music etc. It is involved in production and has a presence in five overseas markets as well as India (China, US, UK, Malaysia and Singapore).
If we’ve missed out an important company, let us know.