INDIAN ENTERTAINMENT COMPANIES IN GLOBAL ARENA: BRIGHT PROSPECTS
India has entered the new millennium with an powerful advantage on its side: The realization that it can and it
must become a global economic superpower. Let us not forget that Japan took 20 years to make a mark globally and china, about 20. India has put in only 10 years in putting its house in order and the short learning curve of some of
the companies cold mean that they make it to the world stage sooner than most expect. Companies like Infosys, Wipro, Asian Paints, Ranbaxy, Dr.Reddy, Moser Baer, RIL have earned laurels globally. If everything goes right our
exports may cross 50 b$ mark in 2002-03. Though lots of interest has been generated by Pharma, I.T. and Auto components, we have not explored global opportunities and further gameplan for Entertainment sector which this paper
attempts to examine. Consider these news reports:
- Sony and others look to India to outsource animation work
- French, keen on Indian T.V. programmes.
- Balaji Tele eyes T.V. software export market
- Padmalaya gets hooked on to toon tamasha
- ZEE TV eyes foreign markets in a big way
Considering these as ordinary will be an extraordinary mistake. These have deeper implications in the time to come.
WHY THERE IS A GREAT POTENTIAL:
INDIANS SETTLED ABROAD:
Its unbelievable to find
that 20 million people are earning around 400b$ every year. They have prospered and are among wealthiest and most influential immigrant populations anywhere in the world. One can now rattle off in Punjabi or Tamil in Toronto, the
Multilingual hub in Canada. Punjabi speakers have become the fourth largest and Tamil is the Sixth most spoken language in the city. While nine out of ten people speak English or French most often at home, nationally
Punjabi has displaced Spanish to become sixth most spoken language in the country. In many places in U.S. like New Jersey there are a large no. of Indian around. Their influence - and numbers - attract desi cultural
artifacts across the Kalapani. All this is good news. Now, India just needs to grow its wealth as fast as its cultural clout. TV France International will hold two day showcase in Mumbai on an animation ' La
France s'anime' during French festival in India. It won't be just about inviting buyers but also sellers who can cater to taste of Indians in France.
GLOBAL PRESSURE FOR COST REDUCTION:
With dropping revenues from cable networks, major animation
studies and producers in the U.S. including Warner brothers, Mattel, Mirage and Sony are increasingly looking to outsource their animation job works from new markets like India and China. Due to changing preferences of the
Children in viewing networks, channels or networks are forced to bring down the license fee. As a result the volume of work has been dropping. In this situation, India's advantage of low production costs could be a boon
to domestic animation industry. The cost of making an animation episode in India would be one-sixth to that of project cost in U.S.
GLOBAL PREFERENCE FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT:
With abundant creative talent available, the Indian animation is poised to get local and original
drawing on the wealth of Indian mythology, folklore and cartoon strip characters. Keeping in view the need to reach out to the needs of global market, Investment are being made in establishing training facilities, acquiring latest
animation technologies and setting up world class post production facilities. Padmalaya Studio is set to kick off a Rs.200 crore animation series project on Jatak Tales, being made for Japanese and American Television. The company
has tied up with US based animation film company, the film club for this venture, The company has already promoted the animation series at Cannes film festival and is now readying to take it to other film festivals. Pentamedia's
twin film, The Pandavas and Sindbad has already made a mark in International arena. Companies are working on Hitopadesha and Panchatantra which is just the beginning. One needs to explore more jewels in Indian heritage. On
non-animation frontier Balaji Telefilms has gone aggressive to find buyers in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, US & UK. Through 2001 and 2002, films made in India or by Indians have received a flattering amount of global
attention. If a rustic fantasy like Lagaan could draw 2 m$ in US & UK and receive nomination for the best foreign film at Oscars why not other films. Devdas and Monsoon Wedding have made it to Time Magazine's list of top 10
international films of the year. The Indian movie market is not even 1B $ while the world market it placed at over 50 b$!
Indian Entertainment companies cannot ignore that they are in a world where the prerequisite of growth has attained dynamism like never before. In fact
the criteria for survival have undergone a sea change. The pervasive impact of technology and movement towards a barrier free global market are giving a new meaning to the rules of the game. The window of opportunity is closing
fast and the companies should take a note of it. Going global will not just increase the revenue but also minimize the competitive risk. Indian companies will have to carefully manage with the cultural issues (very sensitive; ask
Disney & MTV), Be Innovative, Fast mover, exploit every opportunity and be tech-savvy. A century ago when Europe ruled the world, all cultures aspired to emulate the old continent. Today, America's global clout is mirrored by
the power of US cultural icons-Britney, Hollywood, Disney etc. Something like this could be done by India in long term. After spices & software it's the turn of Animation, Movies & soaps to pull customers round the globe by
building ties backed by money.
I look forward to the Indian answer to MTV.