Turning single-screen cinemas into digital multiplexes and curbing online piracy will rid the Indian film industry, the world’s largest movie producers, of its low-revenue bane, said a senior government official on Tuesday.
Joint Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey of the Union Commerce and Industry Ministry told a Ficci Frames session that despite being the world’s largest film producer, the domestic movie industry’s share in global revenue is only 7 per cent.
“We generate a little over USD 2 billion out of the global revenue of the USD 38 billion with our revenue barely being 7 per cent. By 2020, the global film industry revenue is expected to shore up to around USD 50 billion, while our share is to inch up to about USD 3.7 billion,” pointed out Pandey.
“But when it comes to the number of the films produced in India, we are the world leaders. So, where is the mismatch?,” he wondered.
Noting that there are only 2,000 multiplex screens in India against 40,000 in China, he said if we can release a film simultaneously on many screens, the revenue can be very different.
The single-screen cinemas have to be converted into digital multiplexes. We need to add at least 20,000 digital screens,” Pandey said.
“One’s global standing enhances only when one is strong back home,” he added.
Noting that the content alone will not drive the film industry’s growth, he said the industry needs to adopt technology and the digital medium to drive growth.
The official further said some states have begun offering incentives like lower entertainment tax to help the sector.
Blaming rampant piracy as one of the killers of the Indian films actual revenue growth overseas, he said, “The piracy has also led to de-growth of our films abroad, especially through online. Chinese websites are showing films on the same day of their release into cinemas. One way to contain this is to go digital and negotiate with other countries.”
For the spurt in online piracy of films, Pandey also blamed the producers for not offering their dubbing and subtitling facilities to the native films.
Quoting a Deloitte report, Pandey said losses due to piracy are estimated to be USD 190 billion globally last year.
Urging the industry to focus on increasing forex revenue, he said the contribution of audio visual services to total services exports is a paltry USD 140 million of the USD of 156 billion last fiscal and promised every help from the ministry to gain more traction on this front.