The Mouse Moves in on Mumbai

The Mouse moves in on MumbaiDisney is poised to invest in India's film industry. Walt Disney Company (India)  already has a presence in the kid’s television segment through Disney Channel and Toon Disney in India, is now setting sights on Bollywood.

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According to reports from Frames 2006, in the Bollywood capital Mumbai, Disney will both look at making movies itself or acquiring them from local producers and directors. While acquisition will be done under the banner of Walt Disney Pictures, distribution and marketing will be handled by group firm Buena Vista International.

     GREAT STORYTELLING PHILOSOPHY

Speaking at the Frames 2006 conclave, Mark Zoradi, president of Buena Vista International, said, “We will be looking at making 10 to 15 movies in the next 10 years. While some of them will be made by us, movies that are in sync with Disney’s philosophy of great storytelling will be acquired as well. We will primarily invest in movies that will work in the Indian market. And if a few have the global appeal, we will release them across the globe as we do with our other potential movies.”

The company recently appointed Shyam PS as head of film production and acquisitions for India. Of the total number of movies Walt Disney will make oracquire, they say at least a couple of them can be expected to be released globally.

While financing the movie is expected to be done internally, asked about the kind of investments Disney will make in India, Zoradi declined to give investment figures, citing company policy.

The profile of movies will range from local animation movies and mainstream cinema as well as blockbusters, so budgets will differ widely from one movie to another.

     VIACOM EYES DIGITAL MEDIA

Viacom's Manhattan headquarters now eyeing the Indian digital media industryAnother US giant, the cable network and movie studio owner Viacom Inc has already said it is keen to tap India’s digital media business and explore co-producing films to address its large base of young people, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

“When the world sees India, they see its fast-growing economy, its large middle class, its smart and well-educated young people, and its big movie and television audience,” said Tom Freston, speaking at Frames 2006 in Mumbai.

“Anyone would consider it a promised land,” said Freston, who lived in India for several years in the 1970’s, when he set up a clothing export business here and in Kabul for western buyers.

     CO-PRODUCTION PARTNERS

“We don’t just want to distribute movies here: We’re looking at co-producing films here with Indian partners,” said Freston, who claimed Hindi films of the 1970’s made “a huge impact” on him. “We’re also keen to explore the home video market: 80% of film revenues in India comes from ticket sales, whereas 60% of revenues in the west comes from home video,” he said.

India, home to the world’s most prolific film industry and the third-largest cable TV market, will become Asia’s leading cable market by 2010.

 

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