Kannada Film Industry : Potential Markets

Kannada film industry (KFI) has always been talking about having a small market in comparison to Telugu and Tamil film industries. If you look at the available information on the annual revenues of Telugu and Tamil film industries it ranges between Rs 1200 - Rs 1500 crores.

In comparison,
KFI's annual revenues are between Rs 200 - Rs 250 crores.

Since people who speak / understand a language watch the respective language films, there is a direct correlation between the number of people who speak / understand a language and the corresponding language film industry revenues.

Number of Telugu, Tamil and Kannada speaking people is 9, 7 and 5 crores respectively. Going by these numbers, Kannada film industry should have had a turnover of atleast Rs 500-600 crores. But why is the current turnover of KFI only 35-40 % of the potential market?

Fault lies with the Kannada Film Industry. KFI has never understood the potential market for Kannada movies and therefore have had no programmes to harness the potential market.

Here are a few suggestions that could go some way in realising the potential market for Kannada films:

  1. Encourage more Kannadigas to watch Kannada movies. This would result in an increase in the number of Kannadigas (inside Karnataka) watching Kannada movies.
    • Today KFI's turnover is Rs 200 crores. (Back-of-the-envelope calculation : At present, about 1 crore Kannadigas watch 4 movies per year at Rs 50 per ticket entry. If this could be increased to 2 crore Kannadigas watching 4 movies per year at Rs 50 per ticket entry, turnover will increase to Rs 400 crores)
  2. Encourage non-Kannadigas within Karnataka to watch Kannada movies.
    • Today, very few non-Kannadigas in Karnataka watch Kannada movies. If we could have 25% (25 lakhs) of the total non-Kannadiga population in Karnataka watch 3 movies per year at Rs 50 per ticket entry, additional turnover becomes Rs 35-40 crores.
  3. Distribute / Exhibit Kannada films outside Karnataka (within & outside India) so that non resident Kannadigas get to watch Kannada movies.
    • Today, very few Kannadigas outside Karnataka get to watch Kannada movies. If we could have 25% (25 lakhs) of Kannadiga population outside Karnataka watch 3 movies per year at Rs 100 per ticket entry, additional turnover becomes Rs 75 crores.
    • These 3 revenue streams would all add upto Rs 500 crores which is more than double the current annual revenue of KFI.

What needs to be done to make this happen?

Few actionables for KFI:

  1. Produce quality movies
  2. Increase no of theaters that screen Kannada movies (within Karnataka)
  3. Promote / Market Kannada movies in a big way - use all available channels / avenues to promote / market Kannada movies
  4. Promote / Market Kannada movies among non-Kannadigas in Karnataka and among non-resident Kannadigas
  5. Distribute Kannada movies outside Karnataka
  6. KFI: Run it like an industry. professionalize, professionalize & professionalize

Few actionables for Kannada organizatons:

  1. Create a sense of Kannada identity in Kannadigas.
  2. Create awareness among non-Kannadigas in Karnataka that they need to learn Kannada and become a part of Karnataka mainstream.

If only KFI and the Kannada organizations work together on this initiative for the next 5 years, there is no reason why we not only harness the potential market for Kannada films but also expand the market.

Getting entertainment in one's own language is extremely important part of one's identity. We have seen the problems a linguistic community faces when the major source of entertainment of that linguistic community is another language. For example, Marathi. In spite of being 8 crore strong, Marathis have allowed Hindi film industry to dominate their own Marathi film industry. One of the reasons why the Marathis face a serious identity crisis today is because of this. Since Marathis learn Hindi through Hindi films, they end up conversing with Hindi speaking people (who migrate to Maharashtra) in Hindi. And Hindi speaking people migrating to Maharashtra never learn Marathi.

Any lessons to learn, Kannadigas???


Rohith B R said...

Very true indeed!
Just a couple of days ago there was news that Tamilnadu government, with an intention to make Tamil (even) more popular in its state, and to also encourage Tamil cinema industry to inculcate the Tamil sentiment in its people, removed movies with non-Tamil names from under the tax-rebate umbrella. While this move sounds childish at the outset, the point here is the amount of care and concern the Tami govt. has paid towards Tamil culture and language, and also the fact that it has realised the role of cinema in building and growing a mindset of a culture amidst a people.

Karnataka need not have the govt. say something like this as of now, but KFI certainly needs to go up its sleeves and take measures to improve and shine better!

Anonymous said...

Kannada industry has a lot to offer but it is still far from reaching its full potential.

We had a golden period with Raj, Vishnu,Nag Brothers, Ambarish and Ravi. Now that these actors have stepped back our films have declined in quality. We do not have a replacement to puttanna. Desai has lost his touch after the departure of his writer Ranganni.

We are not even being able to attract talent. Look at our people who moved out and joined other industries. The list is long

Arjun Sarja
Anushka SHetty
Vinod Alva
Suresh Urs(Editor)

Even when others come here and act we do not encourage them much.

Ex: Simran,Sada,Abbas, Madhavan,Countless heroines from other Industries came and went but did not stick. These heroines do not belong to any single south state. Most of them are models from north and they end up doing modeling first for some jewellery company in chennai and get a ticket to tollywood or whatever it is called as.

Case in point:How many of us know that Genelia is acting in a kannada movie called Satya in Love. Even if we get big stars our marketing Machinery does not match.Om got remade into Hindi as Arjun Pandit. Any one after that?

How many original stories do we do.
The new wave movies made a lot of impact like Nenapirali, 7 o clock, Mungaru Male, Galipata etc. Will we able to sustain the same quality and popularity. Will our stars be able to match up to the might of Rajani, Chiru and Nagarjuna.

It is heartening to see that the industry is getting back on its feet. It needs more talent, more encouragement and patronage. The other day we went to see AA dinagalu but the show got cancelled for low audiences in PVR and had to go for another movie.

The wishlist looks like this

1)Seniors like Vishnu, Anant and Ravichandran should act their age and bring solid stories and characters to life
2)The New Brigade like Ganesh, Diganth, Mithun Tejaswi, Prem(Nenapirali)
3)The established star sons Shivraj and Puneeth should try some different things and vary their image in original stories
4)Find some more good looking heroines
5)Make Kannada look cool. Enjoy Maadi and Sakkath hot is just not enough

Anonymous said...

There is also problem afterwards. It is very difficult to get hold of Kannada movie VCD/DVD until it completes 2-3 years from release. Compare this to Hindi/Tamil where in DVD and VCDs are available within 6 months.

There is no marketing of Kannada movies outside Karnataka. The websites created to promote movies are crap and waste of time. They do not have trailors/sample of songs etc.

We still are starting to get DVD of movies whilst the technology is advancing to HD & Blu-Ray?

No release of Kannada movies happen in UK/USA where there is a huge market. Compare this with Tamil/Telugu or Hindi wherein movies get released in every villages/county of UK & US and other countries.

We have amazing movies like Cyanide, Mata, Mungaaru male, gaalipata, aa DinagaLu and people hardly know these movies. I pity our KFI producers and marketing people. Get up and make yourself heard!

Anonymous said...

There was a time when Putanna Kanagal used to make films depicting Kannada ethos and culture. But everything has changed now. We now have films glorifying the underworld. Was it necessary to bring a semi nude dancer from Bollywood by paying half a crore in a recently released Kannada film? Is this Kannada culture? Now we have superstars who cannot speak in Kannada properly. They think that it is below their dignity to speak in Kannada without using English words. They import heroines and singers from Bollywood paying exorbitant remunerations, while other Kannada character artists are paid a pittance. Is there a dearth of Kannada heroines and singers? To shoot their song sequences they go abroad. All these factors naturally increase the cost of film making and with a limited market loss occurs. More than outsiders it is the anchor persons of various Kannada channels and film artists of Kannada film industries who are virtually killing Kannada language by excessively using English words in their conversations. Today majority of the people in the Kannada film industries especially the producers and distributors are mainly interested in making money and use Kannada for their selfish ends. So first we have to clean the filth accumulated in our backyard.

Unknown said...

I would also like to add... remove ban on dubbing - this increases competition and ultimately increases the quality of KFI.
I would surely go to theaterto watch kannada spiderman rather than watching some junk movies like marujanma etc etc....

Anonymous said...

Well im not a Kannadiga myself, but did watch some pretty good Kannada movies on regional channels, one i can remember off hand is Accident.And of late also there have been some good ones like Mungaru male, Cyanide etc.

One thing i could suggest is targeting the Kannada diaspora abroad and even in India.

I am Andhraite, and i can tell this from my experience in Delhi. The latest Telugu movies are regularly displayed at Andhra Bhavan, plus there are a couple of theaters in Delhi where we show Telugu movies too. I guess there needs to be some kind of initiative in this regard from the Kannada movie makers and distributors.

Honestly speaking most of the Telugu movies nowadays are total crap, but we have built up a good distribution network abroad, wherever there has been a significant Telugu population. Not only in US, UK, Canada and Australia, but now even in places like Ireland.

Also organize Kannada movie nites and music nites, in all places where there is a large Kannada population settled. I think there has to be a good marketing strategy in place.

Unknown said...

Some pointers to the industry is :
1. Create trends instead of following trends in film industry.
2. Ratnakar point was very valid.. When I was in hyderabad, I could see that there is a considerable population of kannadiga's. But there was not a single theatre which was running kannada movies. I had to plan to watch kannada movie only on my next visit to Bangalore and had no other option.
3. Create movies based on stories which viewers can connected. The golden era used to hve almost every movie based on novels by famous writers. Most of 2day movies dont look authentic and lack that touch of reality.
4. I personally feel that ban on dubbing should be removed as that will stop the remake culture. Film makers will search for some orginial stuff instead of doing remakes.

Amarnath Shivashankar said...

kannada films of late have good quality.
kannada movie Marketing has to be taken to new heights
Good write up by banavasi balaga

Anonymous said...

Kannada Film industry will improve when some decent movies are made instead of "machhu longu" kind of crap movies. This will not only will improve the social life but also give some decent entertainment. Music and lyrics are one more key aspects of the movie. There are so many eminent writers and poets in Kannada. But still the quality of lyrics and dialogues in most movies are below par. Most the heroes are either old or ugly or dont know how to speak proper kannada. Just entering the filmland based on parents name, without any qualifications of acting is the main cause of the current state of Kannada movies. Give more chances to right talents.

Anonymous said...

Dear All,
We've enough number of acting talents. They just need right support and opportunities aShTe. That was KFI doesn't have to worry at all. They just need to look around.

I don't see many satisfied professional movie makers in here. That is why we get to hear a lot of cry/noise.

Raj/Vishnu/Ambi and other families only know to become fans or rajini/chiru! They could never realize or stand like real movie stars. We need energetic people.

Hope soon ambi/vishnu will realize their power and get serious about their projects.

KFI push these guys! Pull the new talents. Stop making stupid movies. Don't give 1 single paisa rebate to crap movies. S.Narayan, will you stop making movies for a year? Desai where are you? Manomurthy/Guru Kiran/Harikrishna...keep it up...we need more fresh music.

There were several 100days movies in the last 2 years. But not many were above average.

We need classic/interesting stories, nice music, eminent actors and technicians. Movies doesn't have to have scorpios and safaris and sumos jumping out of fields and into or over the buildings ;) They need to be clean, simple, creative and effective.

TZP! nice example.

Now, movies like pokiri, bommarillu, mungaaru maLe were great hits. Were they really great movies? not at all, but we all liked them. That's called right packaging.

KFI guys, love your industry, profession. you've not much of time. in next 2 years establish or vanish!

super sinmA maaDi sir!

chigurida kansau was nice, but wasn't marketed well. shivu should stop bending and walking. He is not at all gandugali. get straight dear.

You won't believe, I see more kannada in buses/radios around bangalore. it's nice indication. Let's hope for better times. I'm sure it'll happen!

Anonymous said...

Also considering the wealth of literature and folklore Karnataka has, why dont the movie producers and directors dig into that, instead of remaking crappy Tolly/Bolly/Kolly movies.

Anonymous said...

mungaru male showed the potential of kannada movie industry.
if a movie wit no stars could make about 50 crores which is difficult even for telugu-tamil movies, then u can imagine the market the kannada industry has.
we just need quality movies.

creative directors like upendra should direct movies. not act in some bullshit movies for money.

better marketing is also needed.

Anonymous said...

The Industry needs some 1 like Shankar Nag now, who came out with movies that were path breaking and ahead of their times.

Anonymous said...

sumbody pls substitute kannada heroes , heroines n the story line....everythin wil fall into place!

Anonymous said...

In addition, I think the youth should view Kannada movies as "classy" — and maybe Kannada movies should also make themselves capable of being called so. They should discuss Kannada movies with their friends just the way they discuss English movies, so that they get a better name and more people want to watch them. :) They definitely must be having some content worth discussing about.

Anonymous said...

First and Foremost Kanndigas should give birth to more children. 5 Crore Kannadigas in Karnataka is a myth. Only approximately 3 crores are kanndigas.Rest of Muslims, Telugu speaking, tamil speaking, Tulu Speaking, Konkani Speaking and others. We need to increase Kannadiga population in Karnataka. Kannadigas should stop Family Planning. Every Kannadiga should take oath to give birth to atleast two children and should make them grow into a swabhimani Kannadiga. Then only all these issues affecting Kannada will get resolved. Once more swabhimani Kanndigas are there Kannada will get more political strenghth and inturn Kannada will become much more stronger.

Anonymous said...

I can suggest that NRIs and kannadigas staying outside Karnataka want to watch kannada movies but are unable to do so, because we are scattered even in that city. Take Mumbai for example where I stay. The only option I have is Kannada DVDs/CDs. Now even those are not available to me anywhere. I know there are many kannada websites, but then the recent releases are not available on the internet. Any arrangement to courier the CDs to the homes of these kannadigas would be a huge revenue generator.

I do understand that the tamil movies especially are released as far as in Japan. Obviously there will always be a huge revenue generation disparity among South India movies. ... and not just movies.. its literature as well. I for example am comfortable only reading and writing in English and do not know how to read and write... If Kannadigas "force" their children to learn kannada at an early age, even literature would see a huge jump in sales....

Anonymous said...

Give me quality and that too consistantly.Last year i saw 15 kannada films and most of them were in first week.Look this year,I am hating most of the movies except galipata.

First give me quality movies regularly.Then you dont need to write this blog at all.

Anonymous said...

We can order kannada movie CDs/VCDs/DVDs from the following website from anywhere in the world.


Please check this website

ಪುಟ್ಟ PUTTA said...

It was nice reading one comment in which someone says Kannadigas should increase their population. I enjoyed the humour but I feel he has made a serious point. We should increase our population. That helps solve most of our problems.

aravindw550i said...

ಅಲ್ಲಾ ರೀ! ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಇರೋರೆಲ್ಲ ಸ್ಟೈಲ್ ಆಗಿ ಒಳ್ಳೆ ಕೊನ್ವೆಂಟ್ ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಶ್ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಮೆಂಟ್ಸ್ ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡೋದ್ರಲ್ಲೇ ತಿಳಿಯತ್ತೆ ಎಸ್ಟು ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಶ್ ಭಾಷೆ ನಮನ್ನ ಆವರಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದೆ ಅಂತ! ಎಸ್ಟ್ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಎಲ್ಲಾರು "ದೇ ಥಿಂಕ್ ಥಟ್ ಇಟ್ ಈಸ್ ಬಿಲೋ ದೆಯರ್ ಡಿಗ್ನಿಟೀ ಟು ಸ್ಪೀಕ್ ಇನ್ ಕನ್ನಡ ವಿದೌಟ್ ಯೂಸಿಂಗ್ ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಶ್ ವರ್ಡ್ಸ್" ಅಂತ ಹೆಳ್ಥೀರಾ? ಬಾಷಾ ಉಪಯೋಗದ ಮೇಲೆ ಅಷ್ಟೋಂದು ಕಾಳಜಿ ಇದ್ರೆ ಬಾಷೆ ಉಪ್ಯೋಗಕ್ಕೆ ಉಪ್ಯೋಗ ಆಗೋ ಅಂಥ ಕೆಲಸ ಏನಾದ್ರೂ ಮಾಡಿ! ಮೊದಲು ಕನ್ನಡ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಇಂಟರ್‌ನೆಟ್ ಉಪಯೋಗ ಮಾಡೋದು ಅಭ್ಯಾಸ ಮಾಡ್ಕೊಳಿ, ಆಮೇಲೆ ಬೇರೆ ಅವರಿಗೆ ಬುದ್ದಿ ಹೇಳೋಣ!
To the people here who may have assumed that my English is bad and to someone who mentioned that Kannada has to be made cool! - Kannada is not cool! Kannada has been never cool! Kannada has the intellectual aura that needs to understood! Please stop trying to make it cool! Chinese didn't try and make mandarin "cool". What is this "cool" quotient that people are trying to find in everything and everywhere??

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