Bollywood and Hollywood…the twain are set to meet!
Today India can pay for an Andrew Symonds with ease…and a day will come when our industrialists will be able to buy the top Hollywood stars as well…
I don’t mean that we will get a Brad Pitt to act in a Bollywood movie opposite Kareena Kapoor (though I’d find that amusing!), but we sure will be financing some big movies…and as a result we’ll have more and more films made with Indian and foreign talent, and financed entirely by Indians. On one hand, this should spell the end of Bollywood financing by criminals and on the other…better movies as both Bollywood and Hollywood brains and money will work together…and bring more professionalism into the industry.
India will play an important role in the global entertainment industry
I’m not saying something that hasn’t been said before…that India will have a large role to play in the future of the global entertainment industry. A few months ago the American billionaire investor George Soros, who bought 3 percent of the equity of Reliance Entertainment by investing $100 million(Rs 400 crore), predicted it.
Take our domestic entertainment industry. It’s been galloping ahead at double the pace of Indian Industry for some time now….and latest reports say that the Indian entertainment and media industry will touch $27 billion by 2011(at an annual growth rate of 16.7 percent), faster than its counterparts in Brazil, Russia and China. Sure, growth has slowed (it was 23 percent in 2005) but that’s leading to consolidation, something new in this industry. It’s this change that is worth talking about – the “consolidation, corporatization and convergence.”
Deals struck last year include a $56.6 million investment by Baytree Investments (Mauritius) and others in direct-to-home satellite television player Tata Sky; a $40.2 million infusion by Walt Disney Company in United Home Entertainment (which owns children’s channel Hungama TV); and Reuters Singapore’s investment of $21.9 million in Times Global Broadcasting, the television arm of the Times of India group. Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Investment House has announced $400 million in funding for an entertainment city in Navi Mumbai (New Bombay)…One of India’s fastest-growing media conglomerates, Network18, snapped up Infomedia, a leader in business directories and B2B and B2C publications. And Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s state-owned investment company, bought into television broadcaster INX Media.
Professionals are getting into various fields like digital distribution and content creation. We can look forward to a day when no Bollywood film will be made without a script and hopefully see the end of the plagiarizing era as well!
Hollywood here comes Bollywood
With so many opportunities floating around why should our industrialists lag behind? Anil Ambani has signed deals with eight Hollywood production houses. Besides this, he has ambitions of making the studio he owns (Reliance Entertainment bought a 50 percent stake in ND (Nitin Desai) Studios for Rs 150 crore last year) as big as any Hollywood studio.
India is a huge market for films
And it’s us, a nation of movie and entertainment hungry fans who will pay for all of this…! We are already one billion strong, and our middle class is three hundred million strong…that’s almost as much as the population of America. And don’t forget we are set to notch up another half a billion in another 50 years…as for a our middleclasses, they are going to double in just another 25 years or so.
To satisfy the needs of our movie hungry population, we already make a humongous amount of movies…the maximum in the world. This is beautifully illustrated here with a cartogram which distorts the size of the different countries of the world according to how many films each country makes.
Right now the average budget per film in India is very low but once money is pumped into the movie industry things will change. The map below reflects the present situation….but once industrialists start to pour money into films, this map is going to change dramatically…and we can all look forward to better films.
(Map credits: It was my good friend Axinia who helped me illustrate this post. She told me about these maps, found at strangemaps.wordpress.com. That site in turn had got the cartograms from an advertisement for Volkswagen which showcased the company’s support for independent cinema)
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