Investors eye Indian film industry with caution

Mumbai: The buoyant Indian film industry marred by multiple challenges, industry experts opined at a panel discussion at the 13th edition of the three-day global convention FICCI-FRAMES which kicked off here Wednesday.

India is one of the biggest producers of films. "However, out of the 1,200 odd films that were released last year, only 100 were studio produced," said Soumo Ganguly, an independent filmmaker and the managing director of Moxie Entertainment.

"This clearly means that the other 1,100 films were made by independent funding, either by banks or with the help of high net worth individuals, family, friends and relatives," he added.

Ganguly said that it is a challenging task to always depend on such funding and hence it is difficult to find finance.

Speaking about a large pool of capital available by the way of private equity, investment honcho and Group CEO of Ambit Ashok Wadhwa pointed out that while securing finance from high net worth individuals is an option, the challenge arises when the investor does not understand the creative aspect.

On a different note, Wadhwa advised aspiring filmmakers to be absolutely certain about their finances.

"I would like to advise aspiring movie makers to not start their projects unless they have 100 percent of the film`s expenditure secured in their bank accounts," he said.

Senior managing director of private equity firm Blackstone Mathew Cyriac said that producers were generating more revenue from selling movie telecast rights to broadcasters rather than from box office collections.

"Television is becoming a bigger distribution point for movies. In Kerala, 50-60 percent of movies get bought by general entertainment channels. Similar is the case with Karnataka and other southern markets," Cyriac said.

Talking about the challenges in the movie making business, Cyriac said the studio model is yet to emerge in India.

"Studio business in India is the early 1950s equivalent of business in the United States. Hence, venture capital flavour of investment is seen more in India," he said.