Thursday, May 10, 2007

How Far Does £ 20 million of Content Get You In India?

Over the past couple of years I've noticed the Indian media market is contrariwise, with respect to global trends. Print is still booming and new newspapers are being launched. Television is exploding. Broadband access is abysmally low and mobile phones and rates are getting even cheaper.

This article in the Economic times continues that theme - it suggests people are paying a lot of money for content. Content has been losing its sheen the world over - unless it's fresh, live and exclusive, ideally sports content. There really isn't a big price tag on decades old catalogue. Or is there? GV are paying Rs 175 crore (in excess of £ 20 million) for a catalog of 8000 titles, mostly from the 40s to the 70s. According to the article the notable titles include: Sherlock Holmes And The Secret Weapon (1943), Attack Of The Monster (1969), Murder On Flight 502 (1975), Clashes Of The Ninja (1986), Ghost (1963) and Murder With Music (1941). Now simple arithmatic will tell you that on average, these titles will need to earn in the range of £ 2500 (approx Rs 2.2 lakhs) to break even. The average view will earn (on a webcast, which is the primary purpose apparently) in the range of Rs. 25-30 - given the age of the content and the fact that you can hire a DVD for 3-5 times that much. This means we're talking about each title being viewed 7500 times to break even. Given the paucity of bandwidth in India, thats a heck of a call.

Of course, I know nothing about film distribution and GV have built a successful business doing just that. But this deal, funded by money raised for the purpose has me a wee bit skeptical.


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