We will remain focused on various distribution platforms

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Updated: Sep 17 2010, 07:11am hrs
Eros International, which has announced an IPO to raise Rs 350 crore, is rapidly expanding its presence in the Indian media and entertainment industry. Kishore Lulla, chairman and CEO at Eros, said being vertically integrated means that Eros not only produces and commissions film projects similar to the way in which Hollywood studios operate but also globally distributes and exploits films across all formats including cinemas, digital and home entertainment and television syndication. Lulla tells FEs Shaheen Mansuri about plans on more global launches, content-creation and consolidation, upgrading its distribution channels across formats. Excerpts:

What defines revenue growth for you in India

We will look at driving revenue via television/satellite rights, digital media and music rights. However, managing growth will be a key challenge. Eros International wants to expand further in the regional language film market. We seek to sustain competitive advantage by monetising our India library through new and emerging digital new media platforms. A rising middle class will spur demand for cinemas in India, and annual ticket sales are projected to climb to Rs 500 crore from Rs 390 crore.

What will be the key focus areas

We have stayed focussed on our core competency of creating content and distribution. We now find ourselves well positioned to take advantage of the various market opportunities in the broader entertainment space within India and internationally. Armed with a robust balance sheet and with strong free cash flows, the outlook for Eros is extremely encouraging. Amongst other areas of interest, regional markets are something we are looking at in a big way. We shall continue to consolidate our presence in the regional market.

How important is the new media platform for you

We will remain focused on various distribution platforms. We want to have the first mover advantage and aim to become the largest player in the new media space. With the Indian market rapidly waking up to mobile, 3G services, broadband wireless access (BWA), IPTV and other digital opportunities driven by television, digitalisation of cable homes and telecommunications boom, the group sees a major growth potential. Digital new media is a growing area of focus for us. Apart from digital music, which is mainly monetised through mobile platforms and also DTH on television, other new media revenue streams are, IPTV services and exploitation on the internet amongst others.

Is there a threat from other studios with an integrated business model in India

There are studios like Sony Pictures and UTV amongst others operating in India. We have been here since 1977. Eros has played an intrinsic role in taking Bollywood to global shores and audiences be it through securing multiplex cinema chain distribution, finalising global television syndication to widen the TV viewership of Indian films, or by representing Indian content within major international film. More studios will come to India, but India is a growing market, and each of them can co-exist.