Saregama identifies IP-driven music, film businesses as future growth drivers

MUMBAI: Music and video content company Saregama has identified IP-driven music and film businesses as future growth drivers. The company feels that these two content themes will fuel content consumption on mobile and therefore hold great promise.

The company owns 1.2 lakh songs and 4,100 hours of Tamil video content. It recently ventured into films with its production arm Yoodlee Films. It also walked out of non-IP Hindi TV production business. Saregama has also opted out of WAP business as it feels it is a dying business.

It is building new IP through new film music acquisition across Hindi, Tamil and Marathi languages, TV programmes in Tamil, low budget thematic films targeted at youth with primary exploitation on digital platforms through Yoodlee Films.

Saregama has already sold the digital rights of its two films ‘Ajji’ and ‘Brij Mohan Amar Rahein’ to video streaming giant Netflix. The company is also negotiating a deal for its third movie ‘Kuch Bheege Alfaz’ to get the right valuation. It is slated to release Abi & Anu, a Tamil & Malayalam Bilingual in May. Noblemen and Ascharya will tentatively release in May/Jun.

Explaining the rationale behind its focus on music and films, Saregama India MD Vikram Mehra told analysts during a conference call that film and music have a longer shelf-life. He also said that music and films will benefit from the explosion in content consumption on mobile due to drop in data prices and penetration of smartphone.

“The repeatability of music is very high, you like a song, you listen to that song throughout your life. Similarly for the movie, though the repeat value is lesser than music, you like a movie you are very comfortable watching it, repeating the view after another year or two, we want to be in that space,” Mehra explained.

By owning the IP, Saregama wants to be the supplier for the content-starved digital platforms. It will not launch its platform rather it will be happy to provide content to other platforms.

“Our strategy remains very plain and simple, find every possible way to monetise the existing content far better whether it is through streaming or is it through physical devices and use the money, which is thrown back by this monetisation to make this company relevant for the years to come, keep on investing in the music business and keep on investing out there in the films business,” said Mehra.

Last year, Saregama got into film production with Yoodlee Films. The aim was to produce good quality low budget films targetted at millennials. The company has launched three films with eight more on the anvil.

The films released under Yoodlee brand will have a greater focus on U/A and U films also some of these films will be released in theatres, while others will go straight to digital platforms. Saregama has invested Rs 11.6 crore in their upcoming three films which are scheduled to release between July-August time frame.

Mehra also noted that the company will not do output deals with digital platforms. It will rather give its content to multiple platforms. “In the next 12 months, our focus will be to have content available across different platforms rather than everything going to a single guy. So, the answer to your question, no we are not restricted to give our content to any one vendor,” he said.

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