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Slumdog Millionaire: Big money for Indian companies

Last updated on: February 24, 2009 10:37 IST
It's not just about the Oscars, Golden Globe and millions of dollars that Slumdog Millionaire has grossed globally, many Indian companies too are raking in big money from this Hollywood movie.

Fox Star Studio India, the distributor of Slumdog Millionaire in the country, has managed to gross around Rs 40 crore (Rs 400 million) from the markets, surpassing collections of some of the biggest Bollywood hits of last year such as Rock On. 

From theatrical collections alone, Slumdog Millionaire and its Hindi version Slumdog Crorepati have managed to get over Rs 30 crore (Rs 300 million). "It's a commercial hit for us, considering that it was not a typical Bollywood film. It has made Rs 30 crore at the box office, two-thirds of which have come from its Hindi avtaar," says Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star India.

From the sale of its TV rights (cable and satellite) to Sony Entertainment channel for three years, Fox Star has reportedly made another Rs 5 crore, a huge amount considering that Slumdog has already been watched by a large number of viewers either on DVDs, pirated CDs or in theatres, according to industry sources.

Currently, Fox Star is working on thee-four Bollywood projects and is also in talks with producers for acquisition of script-driven films like Slumdog.

TataSky, the second largest direct-to-home services provider that made available Slumdog Millionaire on a pay-per-view basis, is said to have made over Rs 32 lakhs (Rs 3.2 million) within three days after paying a minimum guarantee fee of Rs 500,000 to Fox. TataSky consumers paid Rs 25 for accessing the movie on the DTH platform.

"We got orders for Slumdog Millionaire from about 1,50,000 TataSky customers. This is by far the best response received for a movie, considering it was available only for 3 days," says a senior TataSky executive.

Industry sources say that even Star Movies, the host broadcasters for the 81st Academy Awards, got high viewership from India even though the live telecast started at 6:30 am on Monday.

Star Network's executive vice-president (sales) Kevin Vaz expects about 40 per cent increase in the advertising revenue from the Oscar coverage compared to the previous years. "Compared with last year, we have registered a 30-40 per cent increase in advertising revenues from the Oscars this year," said Vaz, attributing the increase in the channel revenue to the rave reviews generated by the film in media.

The special Oscars coverage, according to Vaz, has recorded a total of eleven sponsors, including LG, Religare, Hyundai, Hewlett Packard, Coke, Hindustan Unilever's Axe Deodourant and Dove, ICICI Bank and Cisco among others.

According to the TAM data for 2006-08, the Oscar coverage on Star Movies did not generate more than 0.06 per cent ratings on an average.

Ashish Sinha & Sapna Agarwal in New Delhi/ Mumbai