Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Trade of Bollywood

I attended a talk by trade analyst(Komal Nahata) and he had some interesting info and heuristics to share mainly around the lines of film distribution.
The film once made by the "producers" has to be distributed by the "distributors" to various "exhibitors" (cinema owners).
The whole of India is divided into the following territories:
1) Bombay Territory: Parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka
2) Delhi UP
3) East Punjab (this I think also includes J&K and all the other northern states)
4) Eastern Territory - West Bengal, Orissa and the eastern states
5) CP Berar: part Maharashtra part MP
6) CI (central india): Rest of MP
7) Rajasthan
8) South: Nizam, Marathwada, Mysore, TN, Kerela, Andhra
9) Overseas : Further it has UK, US etc.

Also various things work for various territories:
North India - Action, Sunny Deol
East- Emotion
Maharashtra - Entertainment - comedy
South - Class cinema, Also musicals
Overseas - Romance, Indian values not action film (Also stars work in the order SRK, Amir, Akshay (UK's fav), Hrithik, Salman, Saif and Anil

Also it seems the target audience of a class movie is 30% (15% students, 15% upper multiplex going class).

Also one should know that when one talks about Gross collection of a film, he is talking about ticket counter sales. The Net collection of a film is Gross minus Entertainment Tax. And the Distributor share is Net minus exhibitor share.


He actually didn't mention about Distribution Fee which I had found from some of the distributors on my visit to Naaz (the distribution center of films). Sometimes when you are totally indie- new actors, no production house backing, the distributor charge you a 15% fee for distributing and if the movie makes money (it is rare for movies distributed such ways to make money) then the profit goes directly to you. In India actually it is mandatory to have atleast one theatrical release before the movie can be sold to various satellites. I think this rule might just have been to put a check on the threat that theatres can become an optional medium if not protected.
I also feel that with ticket costs being so high, the audience also looks for risk minimization when they goto see a film. Hence though the distributors think that increasing money of ticket might lead to more money in their pocket, it also sets a vicious circle. To lure a happy layman to pay the high ticket cost, one needs to advertise the movie more and hence it leads to increased publicity cost. Also it puts a pressure on star system where stars provide a certain brand to the film and guarantee a certain turnout. And hence now the stars start charging a premium. In any industry, the person who has control over the bottleneck issue will always be paid a premium. Hence not the writers, or the directors (barring a few), but it's the actors who guarantee a certain amount of ticket sales and hence they are treated like humpty dumpties. Unfortunately, everybody feels we could have done better than to land in such a situation. I really hope that with the advent of technology, this whole thing is revised, and there is always a pipeline for indie filmmakers to have their film out there and share it with people.
The day film making becomes as easy and ubiquitous as writing, painting (i know a lot of people worry about quality control ("cheap film means bad films") - I don't) - I will throw a separate party to everyone who could attend. And it is good to know we are getting there.

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