MUMBAI: Anil Ambani’s Reliance ADAG is steadily firming up its media and entertainment strategy. The company’s entertainment arm Reliance Entertainment will house the BIG boutique, which will have the already operating BIG FM radio brand along with BIG Motion Picture, BIG Flicks, BIG Music & Home Entertainment and BIG Adda.
BIG Motion Picture is headed by Mahesh Ramanathan (ex-Percept Picture Company COO). BIG Flicks, under which the rental stores will be housed is headed by Kamal Gianchandani (ex-PVR vice president distribution). The music and home entertainment arm BIG Music & Home Entertainment is headed by Kulmeet Makkar (ex-Saregama CEO), whereas the social networking website BIG Adda is headed by Siddharth Roy (ex-MTV). Ramanathan, Gianchandani, Makkar and Roy report to Reliance Entertainment president Rajesh Sawhney.
Pertinent to note here is that Reliance Capital has a stake in Adlabs that operates in the film processing, production, exhibition, distribution and animation areas. With this, Reliance ADAG will now have two motion picture brands namely Manmohan Shetty’s Adlabs Films and Big Motion Picture.
According to sources close to the development Big Motion Picture will finance movie projects for producers, in the capacity of a presenter. “Hereafter individual movies will be presented by either Adlabs or Big Motion Pictures. Adlabs’ current slate of movies will remain under Adlabs itself and fresh projects will also continue to be undertaken by both,” says the source.
Reliance Entertainment’s recent deal with Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar’s Excel Entertainment has been brought about by Ramanathan for Big Motion Picture. “Excel Entertainment’s deal is not with Adlabs,” confirms Adlabs film production chief operating officer Praveen Nischol.
Gianchandani, who was appointed as Big Flicks COO in November last year, will supervise the roll out of the stores that will rent movies across the county. An online portal is also on the offing, which will sell the products across the globe. When Businessofcinema.com contacted Gianchandani, he confirmed saying, “Something on the lines of a retail and online portal are being planned but it is too early to comment now.”
In a highly unorganized home video rental market, which is marred by piracy, BIG Flicks will be looking at setting up 600 standalone stores in 50 cities across the country, thus aiming to bring about some method in the madness.
Makkar, on the other hand is in-charge for content acquisition for BIG Music & Home Entertainment. “BIG Music’s current repertoire include Adlabs’ Tamil production Kireedam slated for release on 23 June followed by Anubhav Sinha’s Cash on 28 June and Salman Khan starrer Marigold on 3 July,” says Makkar.
Adlabs is distributing Cash, whereas Marigold is its first international co-production. The audio release of Marigold took place at the recently concluded IIFA awards but stocks will hit the stores only by 3 July.
The audio rights of Adlabs’ co-productions – Prakash Jha’s Khoya Khoya Chand and Dil Dosti Etc also lie with BIG Music & Home Entertainment in addition to the home video rights for Cash, Marigold and Say Salaam India.
“While BIG Music will be sold worldwide, BIG Home Entertainment will be made available only in India. In the overseas market Adlabs will continue selling its acquisitions under the Adlabs label,” Makkar informs. Big Music and Home Entertainment will see at least six – seven releases in the next four months.
India’s answer to social networking sites like MySpace and Orkut will be Reliance Entertainment’s BIG Adda. The Web 2.0 version social networking website (www.bigadda.com) has been running in the Alpha stage since 15 May, 2007. “We are still trying and testing the website. The current look and the logo of the website have been voted for by consumers,” says Roy.
Reliance Entertainment was formed with the aim of building a significant presence in the networks of movie, music, sports, gaming, internet and mobile portals for content generation and distribution.
The company launched a gaming portal, Zapak.com under the Zapak Digital Entertainment brand and as part of its entertainment strategy will be investing $100 million in the venture over three years. The gaming division is headed by Rohit Sharma as COO.
Last year, Reliance Entertainment made an entry into FM Radio through BIG 92.7 FM, which has now been launched across 21 cities. Ex-Sony Entertainment Television business head Tarun Katial heads BIG FM as COO.
After much know how of this industry, Reliance Entertainment is looking at capturing the movie and entertainment space in a BIG way.