Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Jul 08, 2005
Home entertainment cos propose retail biz
Mumbai , July 7
HOME entertainment companies are venturing into the retail space. Small unlisted companies such as Shemaroo Video and the Ultra Group have decided to make retail forays on the strength of their music and video rights, which they already own.
Apart from hawking their own DVDs and VCDs, their intention is to emerge as full-fledged retailers stocking entertainment-based goods made by other manufacturers as well.
Take the case of the Mumbai-based Ultra Group which has decided to set up its `Ultra Mini Malls' across the country. Says Mr Sushil Kumar Agrawal, MD and CEO of the Ultra Group, "It would be difficult to compete with the existing retailers but since we already have a good library, we feel we can take advantage of this fact."
In the recent past the Ultra Group has also forayed into gifts and greeting cards and this gives it the added advantage of stocking more products from its own stable. "Almost 50 per cent of the shop floor area will be devoted to our items while the rest will be allocated for other items," says Mr Agrawal.
Besides bagging movie rights for its VCDs and DVDs, the Ultra Group has also acquired licenses for certain characters from the Harvey Toon Group such as that of Casper and Richie Rich for selling soft toys based on the same.
The Ultra Group intends opening 50 Ultra Mini Malls this year and most of them are expected to be franchisee owned. The Rs 35-crore Ultra Group is also looking at an IPO in future.
Meanwhile, Shemaroo, with its large video catalogue, hopes to graduate from being a content provider to a retailer with shops under its own name. Mr Hiren Gada, Vice-President, Shemaroo Video Pvt Ltd, said, "Retail is going to be a different ball game for us considering we have been suppliers of content all this while."
Under the name of Shemaroo Video Stores, the company plans to launch its first store in Mumbai and depending on its success, it might extend to other cities.
Its stores would sell the company's own catalogues as well as those of other manufacturers. The Rs 80-crore Shemaroo Pvt Ltd, is a content house and owns a catalogue for distribution in media such as satellite, television, cable and home video.
Besides, Shemaroo has also introduced the concept of a talking telegram much along the lines of a Western concept of a singing telegram, to attract its customers.
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