The Media and Entertainment industry, valued at 33 billion dollars or 1.7 lakh crore rupees, is very small when weighed by industry standards. However, it is very influential and its impact reaches far and wide. The Hindi Film Industry or what is popularly known as Bollywood, has an annual revenue of at around 2.3 billion dollars or 15,000 crore rupees, which is less than half of the investment made by Facebook in Jio. However, the industry employs a large number of people.
We only see a few people on screen but behind them is a whole team that earns their living through Bollywood. With the Coronavirus lockdown, the Film industry, especially Bollywood which accounts for more than half the industry’s total market share, has been hit hard.
The Malls and Cinema halls are closed and given the cautious approach of the government towards opening up large gatherings, it seems, these will remain closed for the next few months. Many films of big production houses like Takht, Dostana 2, Radhe, Sooryavanshi, which were scheduled to be released during summer vacationseason are postponed indefinitely, and the Bollywood industry is eying for a loss of 2,000-3,000 crore rupees.
Every year around 365 films are produced in Bollywood which averages to one film per day. As of late April, 84 films are already postponed and if the lockdown on Cinema halls is extended, many more would join the list.
“When this outbreak started, we predicted losses of approx Rs 600 to 900 crore for the industry, but now, it’s uncertain. If you notice, the statements issued by production houses or filmmakers only say they’re postponing the release, but there’s no date. Because nobody can say for sure. It could be June, July or August,” said Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh
Today, international markets like UAE, United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, and Fiji account for almost 30 to 40 percent of Bollywood’s total collection. With these countries severely hit by Coronavirus and economic collapse, revenues from these markets are dried up.
“We obviously have lost the summer holidays, which is an important period for movies, not just in India but also globally,” film distributor Akshaye Rathi said. “These big films have a significant revenue from the overseas markets as well, and considering how the situation is, I don’t see them coming out till the time global markets really open up because makers won’t compromise on that front.”
Film distributors, cinema hall owners, music distributors, and many other people dependent on Media & Entertainment Industry including Bollywood are poised to take a hard hit by the lockdown.
The daily wage workers and junior artiste, who, unlike A-listers, do not have enough savings to carry on for months without earning, are forced to sleep without a meal. Producers Guild has announced “a relief fund for daily-wage earners most affected by the shutdown of film, television and over-the-top productions”, but that would not support the large number of Bollywood workers for long.
“We would encourage the entire film fraternity to contribute to the fund to ensure that we can do all we can to minimise disruption in the lives of our valued colleagues and associates in this difficult time,” said Siddharth Roy Kapoor, president of the guild.
In the last few years, the distributors involved in the release of Hollywood movies minted big money, thanks to the exponentially rising collection of popular Hollywood films which reached 1,400 crore rupees last year.
Although the M&E industry does not form a large part of the Indian economy, it is crucial to project the soft power of the country. The impact of Bollywood and Indian Cricket is enormous in many countries across the globe. The foreign market of Indian film accounts for more than 6,000 crore rupees with even arch-enemies like Pakistan and China airing the Indian content.