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Lionsgate aligns with Eros international

May 22, 2008 3:15:22 PM IST
Bollywood Trade News Network
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Eros International, the London listed leading Indian filmed entertainment studio with a global distribution network, and Lionsgate, the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, have agreed a deal to form a joint venture for distribution of Lionsgate and other English language content in original as well as dubbed language versions within South Asia including India, across all distribution formats such as cinemas, home entertainment, television and new media.

The announcement was made at Cannes Film Festival by Eros International Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kishore Lulla and Lionsgate Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jon Feltheimer.

Eros International dominates the market share of the lucrative Indian media and entertainment sector and the joint venture is designed to combine the respective strengths of the two partners by allowing Lionsgate to monetize its valuable library and new films within South Asia using the established distribution network and infrastructure of Eros International.

In addition, Lionsgate will acquire North American home entertainment distribution rights to 20 select titles (including Oscar nominated EKLAVYA and the critically acclaimed GANDHI MY FATHER) from Eros's unrivalled library of over 1,900 film titles which includes some of the top Indian Box Office successes each year and films that have most potential for a wide mainstream release in North America. The partners intend the joint venture to become a leading aggregator of Western content for the booming Indian market and in so doing, two of the strongest names in the industry will monetize their respective libraries through one another's networks and distribution channels.

The venture will also explore the production of Indian formats and remakes based on Lionsgate and third-party film catalogues and create crossover films that will tap into India's booming local language market as well as wider audiences outside of India.

India, the second largest English speaking nation in the world, has a population of over 1.3 billion and a 400 million consuming middle class with 40 million being added to it each year, propelling the growth of the $10 billion media and entertainment industry growing at over 18% CAGR.

In talking of the partnership Kishore Lulla says: 'With this exciting joint venture with Lionsgate, we can now leverage our respective distribution networks and help monetize and unlock value from our deep content libraries. We believe that Eros's initiative in aggregating and distributing Western content, particularly format and remake rights custom-tailored to Indian consumers, will give us a distinct competitive advantage in the South Asian marketplace and allow us to benefit from the growing box office, home entertainment, television market and digital new media opportunities. This also demonstrates our commitment to our content partners to showcase the best of Indian entertainment to as wide an audience as possible in North America through this alliance.'

Jon Feltheimer says: “Our partnership with Eros is a superb opportunity to extend the Lionsgate brand to more than a billion new consumers worldwide as well as providing a platform for Eros content through our established network in North America. This venture reflects Lionsgate's growth strategy on two levels - it continues the process of leveraging content already paid for into new distribution platforms, digital and traditional, around the world, and it extends our commitment to partnering with some of the top content owners and distributors around the globe”.

“Kishore Lulla has built an entrepreneurial company, much like our own, which is unparalleled in its knowledge of the Indian market and the tastes of Indian filmed entertainment consumers. We believe that the combination of Lionsgate's content leadership and Eros' market leadership at the cutting edge of Indian cinema, coupled with superior film production, will be unbeatable for audiences throughout South Asia.'

Lionsgate Executive Vice President of International Business Development, Paul Presburger, commented: 'This is the next logical step in building out our international business. Having set up self-distribution throughout the English-speaking territories and strengthened our international sales and distribution operations, we are now focusing on key territories worldwide with the greatest growth potential. No territory could be more exciting than India, and no partner could be more valuable in reaching India's consumers than Eros.'

Eros's Group COO & Commercial Director, Jyoti Deshpande, adds: 'Our alliance with Lionsgate is a step in our vision to become the gateway for Indian content worldwide and Western content into India. We are delighted that Lionsgate chose Eros as their exclusive partners for South Asia. Also while Indian films have crossed over to various non-English speaking markets around the worlds like Germany, Poland, Russia, Malaysia and Indonesia, we believe this alliance will help market Indian films to a wider audience in North America.'

Eros's partnership with Lionsgate follows its recent collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment, in September 2007, to co-invest in, jointly develop and produce a slate of Hindi and crossover films with broader appeal to be released in India and around the world. Eros's partnership with Lionsgate takes things further, by allotting the acquisition of certain titles from its unrivalled library of film content, as well as titles from its theatrical schedule, to be distributed to the North American market through the extensive network of counterpart market leaders, Lionsgate. Film productions between Eros and Lionsgate will also extend beyond Hindi films, establishing wider global audiences and reach.


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