Paramount Pictures to up new media spends in India: Rieder

Mumbai: Paramount Pictures South Asia head Kurt Rieder paid his annual visit to India last week. The agenda of this visit was to meet exhibition partners and regional distributors to asses the progress of the rapidly evolving Indian market.

Reider also witnessed the rising penetration of new media and digital platforms in India and is looking at taking steps to incorporate them going forward.

Speaking exclusively to Rieder said, "We are finally seeing some improvement in the performance of our (non-dubbed) original-version releases in the key cities. The multiplexes are clearly attracting a more educated audience, which is drawn to comedies, dramas and upscale films. That being said, we are still very much focused on action-adventure films, which we dub into multiple languages as they allow us to penetrate more film markets and reach a greater audience base."

However, despite the improvement Rieder is not expecting to drastically change Paramount’s strategy for the Indian market. The company’s approach will still remain selective for India. He reasons, "There is no other market in Asia where local films remain as dominant. We have no choice but to continue a selective approach – both in terms of which films we choose to release and how we market and distribute them in such a vast territory."

Nonetheless, what is definitely on the radar is a wider use of new media platforms for advertising and promotion in India. "Conventional media is prohibitively expensive, so we see targeted new-media options as being more viable for us in the future. We also think digital cinema is going to have a huge impact in India and will aid distributors by bringing down costs, while benefiting consumers and exhibitors by allowing broader simultaneous releases in cities of all sizes in the sub-continent."

Rieder and Paramount Films of India general manager Sarabjit Singh also toured Ahmedabad to study the movie watching habits of audience in the city’s multiplexes. "Ahmedabad is an economically developed city, but has less scope for English movies. We visited a few multiplexes to study the movie watching pattern of the locals in the city," said Singh.