The film industry of India was among the first ones to face the brunt of the pandemic and the lockdowns. And even though the cinema halls are now open for screening of films, business has not yet returned to normal. Speaking with DSIJ, Kapil Agarwal, Joint Managing Director, UFO Moviez, is, however, optimistic that the revenue stream will return to pre-pandemic times by Diwali this year. Following is the detailed discussion.
How important is technology in your line of business? What new technologies do you hope to adopt that can help your business grow?
Technology is the core of our business. In fact, when it comes to digital cinema, we are a pure-play technology company which deals in encoding, encryption, transmission of data, digital rights management, amongst others. Going forward we will be deploying our technological capabilities to develop newer products in the digitization of cinema such as Impact Media Exchange, a portal for the Indian film industry to interact and conduct transactions online.
What are your key growth drivers?
Going forward we will be focused on sustaining our core digital cinema business to reach our goals in the coming months of 2021. We will be working on quickly ramping up our advertising in theatre and film distribution business.
What are your top three strategic priorities?
While the pandemic has impacted businesses across industries, it has also prompted the world to think out of the box to sustain. The same applies on us. It has helped us to search and establish alternate revenue streams too. We are working at establishing a strong footprint of our latest venture – content distribution business – which will provide feeding to cinemas and drive the advertising business. Additionally, we are also working on certain new-age businesses in the digital media space, namely, Zinglin and Plexigo which could be potential winners.
How has current pandemic impacted your business profitability?
Just like the entire film fraternity, especially the exhibition industry, we too have been similarly impacted as cinemas were the first to shut down and even after opening up there was reduced capacity. However, now with Hollywood and Bollywood movies slated to release in the coming months, we are confident that this may bring about a positive change for the Indian cinemas.
What is your growth outlook for the coming three to four quarters?
Right now, the big-ticket films have slowly started to release. The South Indian film industry especially has witnessed great success with the release of big budget films such as ‘Master’. Now this is prompting the North Indian Hindi industry too. We expect the film flow to regularise with the release of ‘Sooryavanshi’, ‘83’ and other big films. We are seeing very good traction in film release date announcements and many big films are scheduled for release in the coming quarters in Hindi and the other key languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam, Kannada, Marathi and Punjabi. Also, with the corona virus cases going down and the vaccination drive picking up we expect things to start normalising in the coming quarters. As such, the advertising business should stabilise by Diwali.