Cashing in on Digital Opportunities

By Pickle  February 14, 2018

Digitization has opened up new opportunities for content companies. Hiren Gada, Director and CFO, Shemaroo Entertainment, talks about how his company is riding on the digital wave to reach out to its consumers

Can you give a perspective of where is action at this point of time in the industry? And, where is Shemaroo heading?

Shemaroo is a content owner aggregator and distributor. We are an agnostic content aggregator not linked to technology or a platform. Our target is to go where the consumers are. In films, our current focus is on re-issue of films. The second area of focus is television. We syndicate content to channels across categories, genres and platforms. The third place where consumer is headed and which is at a nascent stage is the digital media (Internet or mobile based digitally delivered content). We have created a space for ourselves in this medium. TV and new media are focus for us where the consumer is headed.

How does Shemaroo Entertainment see it ride on the digital now world?

We have been monetizing our content on many digital platforms. Anyone who wants to run a Bollywood service has to work at some level with Shemaroo. We are not exclusively aligned to any one platform. Our business model is to distribute content in as many platforms. It is something similar to home video days — where we used to give DVDs to as many stores who would want to keep our DVD or content. Every new platform that comes in the market is a new shop front. It is something similar to the product available in all e-commerce platforms. At this point of time we do not know where the consumers will go. Working with various platforms will be the way we will look at it.

Tell us about your Miniplex product being offered by Tata Sky and Airtel to DTH subscribers.

Traditionally, after the theatrical window we had the home video window and television window. Now home video has shrunk and it is in the process of migrating to the digital store. But digital has not fully arrived. With Miniplex, we wanted to create a premium window to replace the home video window.

We offer one premiere every week. The consumer has the opportunity to watch four premieres in a month. Every Friday, we have eight shows. In a week we have 14 shows. The monthly subscription is Rs 60 and annual Rs 720. It is ad-free.

We will be adding more platforms. In a way, we are looking at movies which have lost out after the theatrical release and did not get the post theatrical market. It is a win-win for everyone. Film producer is happy as he could see some monetization, while platforms are getting new films. Consumers who missed those movies in theatre can catch them at home. There is value to everyone in the ecosystem. It is not absurdly priced and we have priced it reasonably.

Cable digitization has pushed scale. DTH has created mindset to pay for premium services, the conducive mindset, ecosystem and environment to have these services. We are headed more in that direction.

Will you be looking at reaching Miniplex in global platforms?

At this point of time, it is primarily for India we have started on DTH platforms. We are exploring other international platforms as well.

Is it a conscious decision that you have not started your own platform?

At the end of the day we are a content company. We are not a technology company. We decided to leverage existing technology platforms.

Last year, of the 1,200 films only 600 films got released in theatres. Are you looking at releasing some movies directly on these platforms?

That is not in our thought process. At this point of time for Miniplex we are looking at films which are theatrically released.

Will you be looking at increasing the number of premier’s in Miniplex?

No.

Do you fund films that you release in Miniplex?

We don’t look at anything pre-release. The film is evaluated post release. Since the product has stabilised in both the platforms — Tata Sky and Airtel DTH — we will be looking at award-winning festival circuit regional movies. We are looking at the opportunity to have these films subtitled. But we have not explored this space.

Our immediate focus is to expand the presence of Miniplex and take the service to certain traction.

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