Content Drives Demand – Ronnie Screwvala on IK@W

IK@W -> India Knowledge @ Wharton
(Pardon that syntax, some erlang has crept into me).

Anyways, this time’s edition of IK@W is just great. Only very recently have I made it a point to make a note of K@W newsletters and assiduously go through their every article. And what a treasure trove it is turning out to be…

UTV’s Ronnie Screwvala on media, films and UTV

We are very selective. We like working with certain people — and that is what we do.The way we structure our deals is to work closely with the director. It
is imperative to work with a studio because the way the film is
marketed is crucial.

At that time, children’s programming represented a 1% market share;
today that has grown to 6% to 7%. That is because we have grown the

Sesame Street’s approach didn’t go down well at all; it didn’t
strike a chord with its audience. Localization, to me, means that the
content has to originate locally.

I think differently about localization than about adaptation or
translation. There is a huge difference between these three concepts.
If we had taken Shin-Chan and tried to adapt it for India, it
would not have worked; we just took the show as it was and dubbed it.
When we did our local, live action Hero, if we had done that as an adaptation, that, too, would not have worked in that context.

You have to remember there’s a fine line between localization and adaptation. For example, take the comedy show Friends
— friendship is a universal concept, but if you were to take those
relationships and adapt them to a different culture, it wouldn’t work
because those relationships are not real in places like India.

when one is looking at a structure, most people don’t want to give up
51% because they don’t want to cross a mental barrier that says they
are giving up control. But we are here to create wealth — I would much
rather do that with a larger partner.

Marketing can take a reasonably successful movie and turn it into a
super success, but it can’t make a good movie into a very good movie.
Nor can it make a bad movie into a good movie.

It’s nice to keep discussing this at conferences
and on the lecture circuit — but let’s talk about the ground reality.
In every business there is a certain amount of leakage. There are
look-alike cars for some of the world’s most premium brands; that is a
different kind of piracy. We need to figure out how to tackle it in our
own business.

When we analyzed the impact of piracy on UTV, apart from looking at
enforcement, we saw that after a movie was released, all the other
rights were available in two or three years. We decided to shrink those
cycles to three or six weeks, so the DVD comes out within four to six
weeks of the movie’s release instead of after six months or one year.
The movie gets released on television in three months instead of three

The more we contract these periods, the more we limit the impact of piracy.

Other articles for this week at K@W