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Tuesday, Mar 12, 2002

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Saregama to market Warner classics

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, March 11

SAREGAMA India Ltd (SIL), the entertainment company of the RPG group, has tied up with Warner Home Video, a division of Warner Bros, to tap the fast growing home video market.

Announcing this, Mr Sanjiv Goenka, SIL Vice-Chairman, said talks were on with major production houses including MGM for some more tie-ups in the English movie segment.

He said the decision to enter into this `strategic alliance' was in tune with the recommendation made by international management consultants, McKinsey & Co, for leveraging the core strengths of the company. He said the SIL board had accepted in toto the report submitted by McKinsey.

Under the agreement signed with Warner, SIL will market and distribute its classic films, latest hits and cartoons on video cassette discs and in the fast-emerging digital video disc format. Describing home video as a new and growing market, Mr Goenka estimated its size at around Rs 50 crore. Of late, there has been a sharp increase in the hardware penetration of VCDs and DVD players. The first 10 titles would be launched by next week, retailing through large outlets as well as hardware and book stores and RPG's chain of MusicWorld stores. Besides India, the videos, priced between Rs 150 and Rs 299, would also be sold in Bangladesh. He indicated that SIL had plans to enter the Hindi and regional film segments too.

Denying that SIL was steadily moving away from its core business of music, Mr Goenka said that forays such as the present one were only a natural augmentation of its audio business and one in which it could leverage its distribution and sales network. He said this new segment was projected to contribute nearly Rs 25 crore to the annual turnover

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