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ARKIB : 16/03/2004

Indian entertainment revenues to hit nine billion dollars by 2008: report

BOMBAY March 15 - India's entertainment industry will grow by double digits over the next five years to achieve annual revenues of over nine billion dollars by 2008, helped by increased television viewing, a report said Monday.

The industry's revenues grew by 15 percent in 2003 and were expected to log 17 percent annual compounded growth until 2008, the report by Ernst and Young and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry said.

The sector's growth outpaced the overall Indian economy, which is expected to expand by 8.1 percent in the financial year ending March 31.

``In 2003, the entertainment industry outperformed the economy driven primarily by an increase in television viewership and improved realisations from film exhibition,'' said Ernst and Young.

The report was released at an entertainment convention in Bombay, the country's film and financial capital. Better distribution of films, especially through multiplexes, has also contributed to the revenue rise.

The changing distribution landscape, key to the industry's fortunes, was driving growth with methods of delivery evolving across all segments of the industry.

India is the world's most prolific producer of films.

Ernst and Young analyst Farokh T. Balsara said 2003 was good for Bollywood with 16 films grossing more than 100 million rupees from the domestic market compared with 13 films which grossed that amount in 2002.

``Revenues from the international markets have been impressive with four films crossing the two million dollars mark in gross collections from the US and UK markets alone,'' he said.

Balsara said more people were also going to cinemas, leading to rising occupancy rates.

He said a boom in the number of multiplexes was mainly due to tax incentives by the state governments.

The report said the key component of the industry - television - would also post 17 percent annual growth over the next five years to touch revenues of over six billion dollars against 2.8 billion dollars in 2002.

Balsara said the significant development in television distribution has been the launch of the first direct-to-home (DTH) services in India, owners of Zee Telefilms.

``India should see 7.5 million DTH subscribers by 2008,'' he added.

The Ernst and Young report said the FM radio is also a new growth area, though it was presently at a nascent stage.

The live entertainment segment also posted a 60 percent growth over 2002 and is expected to sustain the growth over the forseeable future led by corporate events, sports, arts and theatre, the report added. - AFP

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