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Tue 9 Mar 2010 04:56 PM

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Eros to tap Mideast demand for Indian movies

Movie distributor dubbing Indian films into Arabic, eyeing online potential as well.

Eros to tap Mideast demand for Indian movies
BIG MARKET: Eros is also planning to raise its presence among the 300 million who live in the Middle East, 50 percent of which is aged below 25 years.(Getty Images)

Indian movie distributor Eros International plans to invest $300 million over three years to tap growing demand for Bollywood films at home and overseas, its executive chairman said on Tuesday.

The AIM-listed company, which produced 80 films last year, is targeting 200 films annually over the next five years and aims to expand its music and publishing businesses too, Kishore Lulla said.

"India, the Middle East, the UK and many emerging markets are huge for us and we see these growing fast. We will invest, we will bring more films," he told Reuters on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

A rising middle class will spur demand for cinemas in India, where 50,000 screens will be opened over five to 10 years from the present 13,000 and annual ticket sales are projected to climb to 5 billion from 3.9 billion, he said.

Also, the television industry is seeing compound annual growth of about 30 percent along with the fast-growing business of DVDs, online and mobile entertainment.

"All these factors will contribute to our growth. The media in India will be what telecoms was 10 years ago," he said.

Eros earned $100 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in fiscal 2008-2009, with 50 percent coming from India and the rest overseas.

Lulla expects 15 to 20 percent growth in EBIDTA in fiscal 2009-2010, with results due out next month.

Eros is also planning to raise its presence among the 300 million who live in the Middle East, 50 percent of which is aged below 25 years.

"In the last five years growth is up by 300 percent here. We can see that growing more not because the content is consumed by south Asians, but also by the local population," he said.

Eros is also increasingly dubbing Indian films into Arabic and other languages, eyeing the online potential as well, he said.

The firm has 2,000 movies in its library, generating 30 percent of its total revenue, and dubs Indian movies into 27 languages.

Last month Eros's music unit tied up with EMI Music Publishing to tap distribution opportunities for their songs and songwriters and expand into new markets. (Reuters)

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