Global cinema (box office and advertising) revenue measurement and tracking company Rentrak has signed its first tie-up in India with film studio Eros International. The studio’s first film of the year – Tevar, which hit the screens on January 9, will be tracked and box office revenues reported via Rentrak’s service.
The service provider started operations in India a couple of months back and the first movie to be tracked through it was PK. “We have partnerships with almost all studios in the United States. Some of these, like Fox, Disney and Viacom, are present in India as well. We have tried to extend out partnerships with them into India. Eros however, is the first Indian studio we have tied up with,” says Rajkumar Akella, managing director, Rentrak India.
India with 3.5 billion admissions per annum is among the largest consumers of movies in the world. He adds that while India is the largest and most diverse producer and consumer of movie content, the condition for Rentrak’s entry were available only recently. Digitalisation of Indian cinema screens is the biggest factor that encouraged Rentrak to enter the mark says Akella.
“With the success of films like The Lunchbox, the world is curious to know about India and the cinema it makes. However, the markt is challenging. It is diverse like no other (market) and fairly fragmented. The digitalisation of screens and e-ticketing has helped streamline operations to a large extent at least in Bollywood. Now almost 80% of Bollywood market operates on e-ticket enabled multiplexes on independent cinema hall chains. We intend to cover this section of the industry, and the remaining 20% as well, though the latter will have to be done manually,” says Akella.
Rentrak’s Box Office Essentials and International Box Office Essentials are the movie industry’s source for comprehensive global box office intelligence and are used as the currency by every studio in the United States as well as distribution entities around the world. The firm already tracks Bollywood in 44 countries overseas due to the increasing presence of exports from the industry to territories beyond Indian borders.
Jyoti Deshpande, Group CEO, Eros International said, “We are delighted to partner with Rentrak for box office measurement in India. I believe this tie up will help accelerate positive change and herald a new era of transparency in the Indian movie industry.”
Akella agrees and believes that once the measurement starts to flow, everyone in the eco-system will be convinced of the importance of standardised data and its advantages. “Currently, since there is no standardised data available, a lot of the dealings in the industry are done on speculations. This means that the risk is very high and the business model can get lopsided. Now, there will be data to help even the single screen owners to make the most of their property and attract clients for in-cinema advertising,” he adds.
After Eros, the agency hopes to tie up with other national and regional studios and establish presence in India. While it will start operations with Bollywood, Rentrak will over the course of time also extend its services to regional industries. With studio tie-ups, the agency will be sampling the markets that the partner studios have presence in, before approaching the independent players in that market.