Market Watch

World Cinema DVD Does Not Perform in India



Home entertainment arm of Indian optical disc manufacturer Moser Baer (MB) will release five world cinema titles on DVD a month in India, starting this month (July) following an agreement with Indian world cinema rights holder Lumiere Movies, primarily known for its world cinema pay TV channel.

Analysis
This is not MB's first foray into world cinema. In 2007 it signed an agreement with local distributor Palador Pictures to release 50 world cinema titles on DVD. That deal came at a time when many local video distributors were optimistic that world cinema might offer them a new, premium-priced revenue stream in the face of competition from US studio titles and MB's ultra-cheap local content. However, world cinema has performed well below expectations on DVD in India, mainly because local broadcasters-including Lumiere-stepped in to meet demand. Lumiere itself launched in January 2008 as NDTV Lumiere before NDTV was acquired by Turner. This was quickly followed by the launch of UTV's World Movies channel in February 2008. As a result, local Indian video distributors now believe that world cinema is no longer a viable business on DVD.

However, MB, which benefits from lower manufacturing and distribution costs than its rivals, may be in a better position to generate revenue from the genre. The company will also be keen to take advantage of the premium that world cinema titles command due to their niche status, as it reassesses the low-price high-volume strategy that Screen Digest anticipated would be unsustainable in 2007.

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