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General News Zee Studios plans to produce 10-12 films a year with Rs 150 cr investment
MUMBAI: Zee Studios, the movie production arm of media conglomerate ZEEL, plans to produce 10-12 movies entailing a working capital investment of Rs 150 crore.

The studio, which has produced blockbusters like Secret Superstar, Rustom, Mom and Sairat (Marathi) among others, has a strong focus on script-driven films with low dependence on star cast. It also has complete involvement in all aspects of production.

The studio has a portfolio approach to movie making with a special focus on low to mid-budget movies. It also aims to have a good mix of Hindi and regional cinema.

In order to de-risk the movie, the production house enters into profit sharing with key talent. According to ZEEL, the backward integration offers significant synergies since ZEEL is a big buyer of movies. It also allows 360-degree promotion of movies.

During a recent interaction with analysts, ZEEL MD and CEO Punit Goenka had said that getting into movie production was a natural since it also buys a lot of movie rights. The risks are also lower for ZEEL due to its presence in broadcast and digital business.

“On the movie business, if you look at it historically, we are buyers of almost 50% of rights that we buy through our various divisions, whether it is satellite, digital, music or overseas etc. I think from that perspective, it was a natural extension for us to get into film production business as well because the risks are that much lower for us and it complements our broadcasting and digital business directly,” Goenka had said.

The growth in multiplex screens and the digital delivery of films has increased the transparency in the film exhibition business. Apart from theatrical, satellite and music rights, the digital rights have also emerged as a key revenue stream.

Regional cinema is becoming popular with Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Punjabi films becoming popular. While the Hindi films industry has 51% share of the Rs 142 billion Indian film industry, the regional film industry has 49% share with Tamil and Telugu comprising 30% of the regional film market.

Outside broadcasting, another business that is delivering well for ZEEL is the music label business Zee Music Company. The music label has identified regional as the key growth area. It is building a strong portfolio in regional markets like Punjabi, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada, and Bengali alongside Hindi.

Zee Music Company has acquired 50% of the music rights in the last three years. Almost 70% of the revenue for music labels comes from digital.

On the digital side, ZEE5 plans to release an original series every month. The video on demand (VoD) platform launched with originals in six languages.

Its movie library comprises 3500+ films across 12 languages and 100+ digital premieres. It also has shows from Turkey, Brazil, South Korea, and Pakistan that are sub-titled in multiple Indian languages.

ZEE5’s premium content comprises of content from international studios, plays from Zee Theatre, and health/lifestyle content. The platform also offers 90+ live TV channels, ZEEL shows, and kids entertainment. ZEE5 launched on 14 February with 1 lakh plus hours of content.

ZEEL has five lines of businesses spanning domestic broadcast, movies & music, live entertainment, digital and international business. For the quarter ended 31 December, ZEEL’s network share was 18.3%. The broadcaster produces 500 hours of content every week through in-house production company Essel Vision and other production houses.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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