Mumbai: A small city-based advertising agency, Creativeland Asia Pvt. Ltd, has entered the television and film production business through Creativeland Pictures even as the advertising industry slows in the backdrop of the ongoing economic slowdown.
“We are clear that we are not just in the business of advertising, but in the business of communication. We will conceive and develop content for various media, which includes TV, films and the Internet,” says Sajan Raj Kurup, chairman and chief creative officer, Creativeland Asia, adding that while business necessity isn’t the reason for the company’s diversification, a slowdown is a good time to do something new as entry costs are lower.
The firm which will conceptualize and develop feature films and television scripts, is already working on two reality show pilots that are being actively pitched to television channels, but won’t be the first advertising agency to do so.
In the 1990s, ad agencies entered into this space because the state-owned broadcaster and even private broadcasters initially sold entire slots and expected buyers to create the programmes for these slots. In return, buyers were given free commercial time in these slots. But then specialist TV content production houses such as Balaji Telefilms Ltd and UTV Software Communications Ltd came up.
Advertising agencies have once more rediscovered the business of late. As per Creativeland’s strategy, anybody with an idea for a film, for instance, can approach it. Its in-house team of writers will convert it into a script and also develop ideas and properties for the Web. Clients could find place in the film or TV show through in-film advertising or branded content. The potential payback isn’t bad either; the TV and movie content business is worth about Rs3,000 crore, Kurup says.
Shiv Sethuraman, chief executive officer at TBWA\India Pvt. Ltd says new revenue streams such as content are never a bad idea. “Lines between advertising and entertainment are blurring rapidly. Both agencies and production companies can learn from each other.” However, he is not fully convinced of the financial viability of such ventures during a slowdown.
Creativeland Pictures will compete with big production houses such as Endemol India Pvt. Ltd and Balaji Telefilms, and is signing memorandums of understanding with five film directors. Kurup says he is also keen on medium-budget movies aimed at younger audiences, on the lines of Rock On.