Two independent filmed entertainment studios, Lionsgate, and the London-lisited Indian entertainment company, Eros International, have agreed to to distribute Lionsgate and other English and South Asian-language dubbed films to the 1.3 billion-strong regional market.
The joint venture will explore the production of Indian formats and remakes based on Lionsgate and third-party film catalogues and create crossover films that will tap into India's booming local language market as well as wider audiences outside of India.
Under the agreement, Lionsgate also will acquire North American home entertainment distribution rights to 20 top features, including Oscar nominated Eklavya and the critically acclaimed Gandhi My Father, from Eros' library of 1,900 titles. The companies say this mutual distribution would enable the two studios to monetise their respective libraries through one another's networks and distribution channels.
The two companies announced their pact at the Cannes Film Festival today.
India, the second largest English speaking nation in the world, has a population of over 1.3 billion and a 400 million consuming middle class, with 40 million being added to it each year, which is propelling the growth of the $10 billion media and entertainment industry growing at over 18 per cent CAGR.
"We believe that Eros's initiative in aggregating and distributing Western content, particularly format and remake rights custom-tailored to Indian consumers, will give us a distinct competitive advantage in the South Asian marketplace and allow us to benefit from the growing box office, home entertainment, television market and digital new media opportunities" said Kishore Lulla, CEO, Eros international. "This also demonstrates our commitment to our content partners to showcase the best of Indian entertainment to as wide an audience as possible in North America through this alliance."
Lionsgate co-chairman and CEO Jon Feltheimer, said, "We believe that the combination of Lionsgate's content leadership and Eros' market leadership at the cutting edge of Indian cinema, coupled with superior film production, will be unbeatable for audiences throughout South Asia. Kishore Lulla has built an entrepreneurial company, much like our own, which is unparalleled in its knowledge of the Indian market and the tastes of Indian filmed entertainment consumers.
Lionsgate Executive Vice President of International Business Development Paul Presburger commented: "This is the next logical step in building out our international business. Having set up self-distribution throughout the English-speaking territories and strengthened our international sales and distribution operations, we are now focusing on key territories worldwide with the greatest growth potential. No territory could be more exciting than India, and no partner could be more valuable in reaching India's consumers than Eros."
Established in 1977, Eros International has over three decades created a global platform for Indian cinema. The company operates in over 50 countries with worldwide offices throughout India, the United Kingdom, USA, UAE, Singapore, Australia, Fiji and the Isle of Man. Eros releases 35+ new films globally each year in Hindi, Tamil and English and continues to build upon its unrivalled library of over 1900 titles.
A pioneer with over 35 per cent market share in a highly fragmented sector, Eros International is virtually one of the only companies to truly operate on a vertically integrated studio model. Global distribution, motion pictures, music, home entertainment, television, new media and animation are the primary strategic business units of Eros.