How do you plan to differentiate Lionsgate Play from other international players like Netflix, Amazon, Apple or Disney?
Lionsgate Play is a bespoke service meant especially curated for premium and edgy content cinephiles. We have been keenly following the kind of shows that are lapped up by Indian audiences and have created a curated library that Indian audiences will love. We want to ensure our consumer gets captivated in the world of bespoke entertainment, Instantly so there is less browsing and more watching
Any plans to produce content Originals for the Indian market?
Yes, we are prepping to produce some edgy and gripping shows in India. We will share further information shortly
Can you elaborate on your partnership with Indian telcos and the reason behind entering the Indian market through this partnership?
Lionsgate Play launched last year on Vodafone play and in the short span of a year we have been able to partner with all major telcos in the country and showcase our content to their audiences. As of today we are present on Airtel, Idea, Vodafone and Jio FTHH. We are also present on large screen formats like Airtel Set top Box and Jio FTTH. The strategy was to leapfrog the distribution challenge by utilising the strength of Indian telco partners, understand audiences and then launch our own asset.
There is an increasing affinity in India to local languages? How do you intend to cater to this Indian audience?
We have observed that Indian audiences does enjoy content in regional languages. We have dubbed many of our films in various Indian languages to ensure deeper penetration and break the barrier of languages. Currently a large part of our catalogue is present in Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Kannada and Bhojpuri. We have received phenomenal response for our dubbed content and we plan to extend our dubbed content library to more Indian languages.
Due to shifting focus towards OTT, do you think theatrical releases will come down in coming years?
I think the experience of enjoying a movie on the big screen will always remain special. It also allows you 3 hours of uninterrupted fun and takes you away to a different world. The entire experience is very fascinating so cinemas are here to stay. What could happen is recalibration of the kind of movies that see a cinema release. The movies which don’t see a big release distribution wise might choose to go direct to OTT. While business models and scenario building on movie business will become more dynamic surely, however the importance of each medium will remain intact.
The goal of combining Lionsgate and Starz was to build a premium global subscription platform ? How has the strategy worked for you?
Globally both are giants in their own spaces. The OTT space is very hot as more and more consumers opt for it so it was a natural progression for Lionsgate to be in the streaming business. I would say it has worked really well for the organisation as we are already present in about 50 countries as of today and will continue to bring cult content to our users preferred screens, so be it at the cinema theatres or the mobile phones, we will provide premium content as per the demand and preferences of our consumers.
How big is India in your scheme of things at the moment?
We are committed to build a sustainable business in India. It’s a huge growth driver by the sheer number of people who want to watch content and are even ready to pay for it. We are adapting very fast, be it introducing content in Indian languages, launching originals or bringing the best of Hollywood films to India. We want to make sure we deliver best of premium content to our Indian audiences.
Could you share your marketing plan or mix for the Indian market?
We want to build a meaningful brand in India. We will explore mass media like outdoors, print as big announcers and also use social and digital media to drive frequency. We will follow the consumer in his decision making journey and touch base with him at different touch points to introduce a new show, movie or remind him about us.