Bollywood toys with Hollywood-style spinoffs

Published On: 2013-03-05

Author: Krittivas Mukherjee

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Bollywood toys with Hollywood-style spinoffs

Source: Yahoo

Date: January 30, 2007


MUMBAI (Reuters) - For decades, Bollywood was happy just to sell filmgoers a 20-rupee cinema ticket.


Now studios, tentatively evolving from dynastic family firms to Hollywood-style companies with a taste for merchandising, are increasingly trying to market everything from movie hero action figures to mobile phone ringtones of film soundtrack snippets.


"Krrish", Bollywood's all-singing, all-dancing, black-caped answer to Superman, was perhaps the industry's most full-on attempt yet to cash in on merchandising and the wallets of India's growing middle class enjoying years of economic boom.


After seeing the film last year -- Bollywood's biggest hit in 2006 -- children could nag their parents to buy them Krrish dolls, Krrish superhero mask, Krrish dartboards, Krrish Rubik's Cubes, and Krrish school stationery.


It is all a contrast to a few years ago when old-fashioned revenge melodramas played in often dilapidated cinemas.


"Bollywood's top producers and studios have woken up to the possibility of earning money other than from the box office which cannot remain their only revenue source," Derek Bose, author of "Brand Bollywood: A New Entertainment Order", told Reuters.


Revenues from India's film industry, valued at about $1.75 billion in 2006, are forecast to nearly double to $3.4 billion by 2010, according to estimates by PricewaterhouseCoopers.


Other hit films from 2006, including "Lage Raho Munnabhai", the extramarital potboiler "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" and "Dhoom-2", about a sauve thief, also exploited merchandising, DVDs sales and paid mobile ringtones and games to increase revenues.


And top Bollywood studios such as Yash Raj Films have online merchandising stores which accept all major credit cards and will deliver to your door.


Studios and analysts say the industry is ambitiously aiming at following Hollywood with "media convergence" -- the buzzword for plastering a product across a wide array of media such as television, radio, the Internet, video games and mobile phones.


"Each of these serves as a delivery platform for film entertainment and has collectively opened up unimaginably huge revenue streams," said Bose.


The expansion of Bollywood comes as Hindi-language films gain an increasingly large audience in Asia, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Indian films are banned but are easily available because of a flourishing bootleg DVD industry.


Bollywood films also have a growing market in Britain, the U.S. and Canada, thanks to millions of Indian expatriates.


And though official statistics are scant, the result is that Bollywood is the biggest film industry in the world in terms of viewers, with an audience of more than 3 billion, compared with Hollywood's 2.6 billion in global ticket sales.