UTV Motion Pictures

While UTV boasts of its own robust distribution network for both domestic and international markets, and most significantly a strong production team producing both Bollywood and regional cinema (both commercial and genre defining ones), the studio has now been approached by various leading directors and producers to distribute non-UTV movies. While UTV has undertaken the distribution of a couple of non-UTV movies in the recent past, the company has plans to set up more offices in various regions including two offices in the South, considering that South will be a strong focus starting this year. Gaurav Verma, VP - Distribution - India, UTV Motion Pictures reveals the plans.

What makes UTV explore markets which are more into offbeat/experimental zone?
UTV has been in the business of movie making for sometime now. As a studio we make 10-12 films a year and for each of our films, every market becomes important. And the same effort is put by the team at UTV for all the films we distribute. Rather than following a traditional approach where films are released with a defined range in terms of number of screens, cities etc. we exhibit and release our films including the ones we produce and distribute, to every region and explore territories that otherwise wouldn't be considered. This is done in multiple phases, thus ensuring that the film is effectively reaching out to the audiences everywhere not just in key cities. The idea is to expand the base for films of all kinds.

From the ROI perspective, what's the company vision in terms of associating itself with non-UTV films?
At UTV, we like to be associated with films that are entertaining and yet are commercially successful. The same goes with films that we distribute; the idea is bring good and entertaining cinema to the audiences. We have built an infrastructure that is robust enough to take on more films, over and above our slate in a manner that is commercially viable to all parties involved, including us.

Is there any precedence that the company is looking at following here in terms of distribution model? Or is it primarily an altogether green field zone it is stepping in?
We are established players in the business of distribution and over the years, have created a robust infrastructure ranging across the territories, bringing in strong relationships with exhibitors on the table. We have the ability as well as the capability to take on more than our existing slate and do justice to it and exploit it to the fullest.

Since there are quite a few independent distribution companies that are already in fray and have tasted the market for decades now, is UTV looking at entering into a competition where it actually starts on a back-foot?
Like I mentioned earlier, we aren't starting on back-foot in terms of the ability and infrastructure. Each of our films has been distributed efficiently and filmmakers today are aware of our exploitation capabilities in the market today. We are interacting with exhibitors at various levels for our slate of films, so extending this to more films will make it significantly easier for all including exhibitors, producers and more. We believe this will significantly help the producers of the film as they will experience a uniform distribution approach across all territories from overseas to India which is not the case now.

Also, our relationship with them will not be limited to theatrical distribution but will be spread across all revenue streams. So rather than negotiating and coordinating at multiple levels, they have to deal with one studio that has both the expertise and relations that will benefit their film.

While this may be a good business decision for the company, how much of welcome/resistance does it foresee from industry in general, especially when it comes to much more established partners?
Producers have been more than welcoming. We function in a uniformed approach, without restricting the films to a particular territory which may be the case with the existing model. They are keen to be associated with a reputed brand that has a strong standing in the market, is transparent, has the market strength and brings in additional ideas on the table.