The tinsel world will now be packed with more action! PG Entertainment LLC, a US-based movie distribution company, yesterday announced the launch of its Indian arm, PGM Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, which will release and promote English movies across the country. In the subcontinent PG Entertainment is present in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Srilanka and Burma.
The company has so far made an investment of Rs 25 crore in setting up its India operations and plans to pump in another Rs 10 crore. Puneet Dureja, president, PGM Entertainment, is optimistic about the market potential of English movies. He says, "According to market research, by the year 2006-2007, India will have the largest English speaking population in the world and this should make India the largest market in the world for English movies. This finding clearly spelt out that India was a key market for the entertainment sector. Besides, the entry of international studios, distribution houses and increasing penetration of satellite television have resulted in the demand of English cinema."
For this year, PGM has planned a release of four to six new English movies. The films will be screened across the country. Currently, the company has eight major dealers to distribute the movies across India, which is broadly divided into eight main territories. These regions comprise Delhi-UP-Punjab, central provinces, Mumbai presidency, the eastern circuit, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka (Bangalore), Tamil Nadu (Chennai) and Kerala. However, the number of releases will go up to 50 next year, of which the company will launch 20-25 movies and the rest will be through sub-dealers.
Apart from releasing new movies, PGM has a library of 220 movies, which it plans to sell to various channels. Akshat Rathee, head of marketing and advertising, PGM Entertainment, elaborates, "Talks with TV channels are underway to air these movies. The deal with Siti cable will hopefully materialise. We are looking at Zee also among other channels, but STAR and DD at the moment are not part of the list."
Elaborating on the reason, Rathee says, "This is because STAR has a foot print of 52 countries whereas we might not have the rights for these countries. And as far as DD is concerned, the channel does not have an English segment as a dedicated feed on the national channel. But we are thinking of initiating talks with DD World and DD Metro."
Generating interest in the consumers mind and in the trade is the company's next task. The advertising will take the mass media route to communicate its initiatives. Print ads will appear in key national dailies and magazines like Filmfare. Television commercials will break in May on almost all TV channels. "All our ads are product-specific and we have allocated a budget of Rs 30-50 lakh on each movie and that also includes the amount spent on making posters." To reach out to the trade, magazines like Trader's Guide and Complete Cinema will carry the ads. The first movie from PGM is going to be Spiders. It will be released by May-end or early June. The movie will be screened across the country. In Delhi it will be shown on Chanakya, Priya and some other theatres.
Interestingly, action movies outnumber romance and comedies in the movies catalogued for releases. Is this a deliberate decision? Rathee replies, "This is certainly a decision based on the feedback we got from our distributors who, in turn, drew their inferences from the two movies, Warlock and Legionnaire, we released to test waters. The findings indicated that Indian viewers are more inclined towards make-believe, action movies like Jurassic Park, Men in Black, Anaconda etc. Moreover, the market share of Hollywood movies in the Indian film industry is 10-12 per cent. While action movies command 20 per cent of that share, dramas or romantic movies surprisingly hold 5-7 per cent. Thus our decision to have more action movies."
To woo viewers, the company is contemplating dubbing action movies in Tamil, Malayam and Telugu. "This is because action movies are immensely popular in the south," adds Rathee.
PGM has some very ambitious plans in the pipeline. The company plans to go public in March 2002. In five years time, the company hopes to set up a production house and produce features, TV programmes and documentaries. It is also considering the possibility of distributing Hindi movies. "We will probably distribute 'Style', a Hindi movie produced by Chandra. However, for the present, our focus will be on English movies," clarifies Dureja. With big players like 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Columbia-Tristar etc in the market, the task at hand is obviously going to be challenging.
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