Moving a step ahead in its agenda to consolidate its market position, USL-WOA, the post-production and special effects division of UTV has acquired STV Studios, a specialised unit located in the suburbs of Mumbai. With this acquisition, USL-WOA, which primarily handles post-production and special effects of ad films, can now do the same for feature films - a core competence it has been looking to acquire for a while. "Our focus has always been ad films," explains Sandeep Bhargava, COO - Allied Content, UTV. "However, if one is talking of growth, the feature film route is the only possible way to go since projects in this area are bigger in size and value."
Apart from an expansion of services, the STV acquisition provides an alternative hub for clients located in the suburbs of Mumbai. USL-WOA's operations are centralised in the south of Mumbai where many of the city's ad agencies are located. With the second unit based in Juhu, a suburb of Mumbai, the company, according to Bhargava, will be able to tap the film industry, which is predominantly concentrated in that area. "The industry here is very geographical," he says. "Clients located in town (that is, the south of Mumbai) find it inconvenient to travel to the suburbs and vice versa. The new facility will take care of this problem."
STV, controlled earlier by the Delhi-based STV group, has made investments to the tune of Rs 25 crore in upgrading facilities providing for special effects, computer graphics as well as reverse telecine, which allow films shot on video to be mastered on 35 mm and the big screen.
The STV acquisition is the second after Western Outdoor Advertising (WOA) was acquired six months ago. Competition chiefly comes from Prime Focus and Famous - studios based in Mumbai, which show a strong presence in the city.
The turnover of the company is Rs 15 crore with plans in place to strengthen operations in Delhi besides setting up base in Chennai. "We are keen to capture the southern markets as well as move into neighbouring Sri Lanka," says Bhargava.
USL-WOA has identified allied areas such as content creation apart from post-production and special effects, as an avenue of growth. To this end, it has entered into an agreement with Ten Sports to broadcast live signals of horse racing events held at the Mahalaxmi Race Course for a period of three years. The deal is pegged at Rs 4 crore. It will also create content for an online lottery venture, which Bhargava refuses to specify. The deal is pegged at Rs 3 crore.
On the SFX front (that is, special effects), USL-WOA will do work on as many as five films apart from its in-house venture Lakhshya (UTV is co-producing this film). The company has hired two expatriates from the UK and Germany to head the SFX and high-end telecine units. "Our aim," says Bhargava, "is to be a long-term player in the Asia-Pacific region. We are working towards that end," he adds. © 2003 agencyfaqs!