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Adopting the ‘portfolio approach’ lowers production risks, widens reach andmaximises profits. Could there be a more solid formula?

As a production house, we have seen the film industry mature over the years.Viacom 18’s entry into theIndian film industry was by introducing Studio 18, which was among the first few studios that were set up in the Indian film industry. It became essential to remodel Studio 18 into an entity that not only aligned itself with industry trends but is also more integrated with the other businesses ofViacom 18. Viacom 18 Motion Pictures is a step in that direction.

Studio 18 had a good 30-month run that witnessed Studio 18 bringing tothe market some of the biggest hits of the Indian film industry – Jab We Met, Singh is Kinng, Welcome and Ghajini, among others.This year, we underwent a makeover. We were re branded as Viacom 18 MotionPictures and lined up a great slate of films. But this year, our focus was not just on big-budget and larger-than-life cinema. We carefully chose scripts and stories that would appeal to the Indian audience. It was a conscious decision to not just produce big films but also focus on a lot of content-driven, small budget films.

Under Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, we launched a brand called Tipping Point Films, where we created content for the Indian urban youth. This audience segment has a higher evolved sensibility than the conventional movie-goer. We believe this segment is large enough and growing at a rate where we would like to have a presence in it. We nurtured and developed a lot of first-time, fresh talent. We literally hand-held this fresh talent and gave them the right opportunities, financial security and an environment where they felt at home.

This was a fundamental reason that helps our studio undertake the portfolio approach. It doesn’t only allow us to approach different audience segments but also spread our risks financially.This is our way of strengthening a long term foot hold in a segment that has the potential to grow.

We produced films like Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Shaitan for the so called youth segment, which at the time seemed much smaller but has grown agreat deal over the last few months andwill continue to bloom. I must add that films like Delhi Belly were huge successes in this segment too.

That Girl In Yellow Boots is also being made for the urban niche market, which has the potential to grow disproportionately. Recognising these smaller and niche segments is what a portfolio strategy is.

It is important for any production house to balance the mix of larger films that ensure scale against small films that are creative forms of expression.We also need to have some medium budget films in the pipeline to perfect that balance. And not just that, we also actively entered into the distribution of Hollywood films. So we have some of the major Hollywood releases– Paranormal Activity 3, Puss In Boots and Mission Impossible – lined up for the latter part of this year and another Indian-Canadian venture titled Speedy Singh (Breakaway in English).

This year, we are also focusing onmaking these films reach the audience in a digital manner. Outside of that, we plan to encompass all the verticals that are important for the life cycle of a film.

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