Expert Opinion
Interview with Manish Dutt Manish Dutt is the Managing Director of VR Films Ltd.


V R FILMS – INTRODUCTION

V R films which was set up in the year 2000 has grown in size and stature over the years to emerge as a major force to reckon with in the field of content acquisition and content localization both at the national and international level.

V R Films operates appx. 65 studios and employs over 800 people who are resources on call working as dubbing artists, writers, sound recorders, mixing engineers.

The business of V R Films consist of two verticals

a)     Content Acquisition -where content is acquired from Hollywood, Asian countries and licensed territories which is then distributed

b)    Content localization – where dubbing of content is done in Indian and foreign languages for feature films, documentaries, audio books TV programs etc.

On the financial front VR Films has been witnessing excellent growth. For FY 20 VR films reported revenues of Rs 9.10 crores compared to Rs 5.53 crores in the previous year a growth of 64%. The net   profit was placed at Rs 1.74 crores compared to Rs 1.24 crores in the previous period an increase of 40%. which accounted for earnings per share of Rs 12.69

For   the 1st half of FY 21 V R films has reported revenues of Rs 5.15 crores with net profit of Rs 0.97 crore translating in to earnings per share of Rs 7.07

Mr. Manish Dutt Managing Director of V R Films shares his view of the future outlook of the company.

Questions

1)    Sir, you have been in the field of content acquisition and localization for the last 20 odd years – could you share your experience

Last 20 yrs has witnessed a huge changeover in Media and Entertainment sector. Earlier content supply was restricted to either Theatres, mostly Single screens or Private Television players and DVD with limited supply chain. Piracy was a big problem then with leakage in revenue stream. With the emergence of Multiplex in 2003-2004 the Theatrical business grew multifold. With emergence of Private Television channels a boom was witnessed 2010 - 2016. Content was in huge demand as both Multiplexes and Tv players needed content. Besides Hindi and regional cinema demand for Hollywood and Foreign language content grew as well. It was not easy to invest huge monies in new content. Dubbing content filled up this gap. With localized content the viewership reach expanded enormously. This filled up the need for all existing players and resulted in a boom.

Emergence of SVOD players like Amazon and Netflix in 2016 -2017 was a game changer again. Now content is needed 24x7 dubbed in many more languages. Players who could not adapt to changing times had to move away and were left far behind.

Last 20 years have been a huge learning experience, learnt to survive, change and grow with the times.

2)    What have been the triggers that led to the growth of the sector

Emergence of Multiplexes in 2004 -2005 was the trigger in Theatrical boom. In India Theatres, single screens were very less compared to the area wise density of the population. Introduction of Virtual Prints in Theatres replacing the traditional 35 mm print, could make a release affordable and help go wide on the release day itself. This killed Piracy to a large extent. People enjoyed the new experience of watching cinema in Theatres in Dolby 5.1, digital prints etc. The number of screens increased from a mere 500-800 odd screens to 6000-7000 screens. Budgets went high but the experience was enjoyable as the returns too increased multifold.

Moreover after Theatrical run, Television channels started acquiring Pay Tv rights at huge amounts resulting in good revenues. The film business was much safer now than earlier as besides Theatrical revenue Pay Tv revenue.

With emergence of Digital / SVOD platforms like Amazon, Netflix, Zee5, MX Player, a further boost has been provided to this sector resulting in additional revenues and growth opportunities for many. Earlier Tv serials were produced for a few Tv Channels and growth was limited to whoever could break in with the channels. But now with emergence of Digital platforms Web Series and Films for the Web have created huge opportunities for talented content developers and makers. Due to this the demand for more content and localized content has grown multifold as well. Due to localization the language barriers have been overcome resulting in attracting more eyeballs, viewers from across India and the World. Due to this with a good product Sky is the Limit as far as revenues are concerned.

3)    What are your views on the overall growth prospects of the sector over the next five years?

Entertainment is going to witness a huge growth in next 5 years. There is a huge demand for content and localization of content. The recent pandemic too has proved that Entertainment Industry (Production / Acquisition / Localization of content) is one sector which would keep up the boom. Though Theatrical business suffered a loss due to the Pandemic, the Digital format Television and SVOD streaming covered up for it. Producers did not suffer losses due to Pandemic as the content was streamed on Digital Platforms and got in revenue replacing the Traditional Theatrical window though partially.

All kind of content is being localized in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Kannada, Bangla and many International languages.

I feel this sector would grow tremendously at more than 500 - 1000% times than what it exists now.

4)    What would be the triggers that will propel this growth?

Digital Platforms, emergence of more Multiplex screens will propel this growth. China has nearly 50000 + screens whereas India has only 5,000 -7,000 screens. Looking at our population and love for cinema and entertainment, there is immense scope for growth.

Digital Platforms are booming and would consolidate with much better content pushing up subscribers. They need new content 24x7, which would be huge volumes of new creation.

Emergence of Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD) is an interesting development which will encourage “Your Theatre at Home” concept to view new and old content for a Transactional fee i.e you buy a ticket online and book you show at the comfort of your Home.

All this content will have to be localized in various Indian languages for India and International languages for a Worldwide reach and consumption.

This game changer will be the propeller for the growth in next 5 years.

5)    Could you provide a break up of revenues between your two verticals and which of the two has better prospects in terms of growth and profitability

Both the verticals go hand in hand. Localization would be 50-65% of revenue compared to Production / Acquisition which would be approx. 50-35%. This would occasionally change as per demand and when or if you have a sleeper hit project in your content kitty.

Acquisition / Production of content though will provide a huge topline bottom line would be foxy fluctuating between 10-12 % unless you have a sleeper hit with awsum content produced. But this would require infusion of huge funds and would be cash intensive.

Localization would be a steady growth of 35-40% or more year on year as the content produced will have to be localized in various languages to monetize. This will be less cash intensive as compared to Acquisition / Production. As we have invested already infrastructure for Localization infusion of funds will not be extensive.

Together both Content Acquisition / Production and Localization would be the KING and QUEEN of Entertainment.

6)    What are the estimated revenues and profits for FY 21 and 22?

We are hoping to achieve for FY 21 approx 150 -200% or more growth compared to FY 20…..1st half of FY 2020-2021, inspite of a lockdown for 7 months we have already achieved approx. 80% growth compared to FY 2019-2020 same period.

FY 22 would hopefully be approx. 200% or more of FY 21

7)    When do you propose to migrate go the main board?

May 2021 we will be eligible to migrate to the main board. We are working towards it and hopefully by June 2021 or earlier we should migrate to the main board.

8)    In order to qualify listing on the main Board you may have to resort to a hefty bonus issue. Any time frame for this action.

We are working towards it. Definitely before we migrate in June or whenever we will have to declare it. The sooner the better.

9)    What is your message to investors?

VR Films is a company based on strong fundamentals. With our growth plans we want our Investors to benefit majorly for having the trust in us. We at VR Films are working with the aim to Create immense wealth for our Investors with our hard work and dedication.