Disney chairman: Decision to close down Indian film production operations misunderstood

Walt Disney International chairman Andy Bird confirms that 12 local content productions are in the pipeline.

IANS April 26, 2017 14:54:35 IST
Disney chairman: Decision to close down Indian film production operations misunderstood

Jakarta: Disney is not abandoning local content production in India, despite a decision last year to close its Bollywood film making side, says Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International. He also feels that the country is often overshadowed by the growth of China, but prospects for India are very bright.

Disney chairman Decision to close down Indian film production operations misunderstood

Andy Bird. Twitter

"I've never been more excited about India. That comes after a decade of frustration," Bird said at the Asia Pacific Video Operators Summit (APOS) convention in Indonesia on Wednesday, reports variety.com.

Bird said that his decision to close down Disney's Indian film production operations last year has been misunderstood by the industry. The decision was taken in November last year, at a time when the company's in-house developed Dangal starring Aamir Khan was breaking box office records.

"It was misinterpreted that we were giving up on local production," said Bird. He said that the company has a slate of 12 products in development.

Bird explained that the changing possibilities offered by expanding bandwidth and mobile access mean that Disney is more able to experiment with new business models, reports variety.com.

"In India we would have content which debuted on Facebook, then went to YouTube and then to traditional TV in third place," Bird said. "The economics of the Indian cinema industry are just not catching up.

The theatrical film business in India has experienced sharply rising production costs, at the same time as admissions have reached a plateau and under the influence of multiplex building, rising ticket prices.

Another factor behind the decision was the growing popularity of Hollywood movies in India. That opens more business opportunities for the multinational.

He stressed that Asia continues to represent some of the fastest growth rates in the world for Disney, while also being at the cutting edge of the analog to digital transformation.

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