Depleting audiences push Kannada industry to brink

Falling collections

Depleting audiences push Kannada industry to brink


Diganth and Aindrita Ray in the film ‘Manasaare’.

Painting this rather bleak picture of Kannada film industry caught in a conundrum is the “Ficci-Ernst & Young Report: Indian Entertainment Down South: From Script to Screen” exclusively accessed by Deccan Herald.

Besides falling collections and depleting audiences, the study says Kannada cinema has to contend with high production costs and lack of wider viewership and left to faced the onslaught from Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films.

Further, the study notes that Kannada films are competing with one another for the same audience, which, given Bangalore’s cosmopolitan nature, is not large.

Mainly dependent on domestic theatrical release, Kannada films, the study notes, have to face the biggest threat from Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and English films as a majority of theatres screen these films.

The Kannada film industry, which on an average produces 120-150 films annually is saddled by losses due to these factors impinging upon its growth. Though South Indian film industry market size is estimated at Rs 1,730 crore, the Kannada film sector’s share in this huge pie is a dismal 2 per cent with Tamil and Telugu enjoying a 45 per cent market share each and Malayalam 8 per cent.

While Telugu and Tamil cinema contribute around Rs 770 crore each (Rs 1,540 crore), Malayalam cinema accounts for Rs 140 crore and Kannada an abysmal Rs 50 crore.  
Despite governmental support, the study observes that the geographical reach of Kannada movies is limited to the State with hardly a couple of them getting distributed in international market.

Conceding the study paints a truly sad and grim picture, industry sources here said, one cannot survive in this difficult scenario and it's time to set the house in order.
Sources said the tax sops provided by State government is a curse as other non-Kannada films distributors enjoy its benefits than the local industry.

With theatre occupancy for Kannada films at less than 40 per cent, the industry is forced to seek other avenues of revenues through mobile, satellite and telecast rights to compensate for production costs, sources observed.

With the industry virtually struggling to survive, the question in the minds of observers is if, or when, the succour come to save it?

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