Hiren Gada, Director, Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd is a Management graduate with 15 years experience. With a finance background, he has been the head of investment services and worked as investment research with an equity brokerage house. Gada is currently handling several areas like Strategy, Finance and Marketing among others at Shemaroo and been responsible for putting in systems & processes and ERP in place. Gada is a second generation of the promoter family and joined the business in 2002. Initially he worked on the Home Video business and created several ground breaking activities in the sector. He set up the on ground sales force for the home video business.
Founded in 1962, Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd is among the eminent Filmed Entertainment “Content House” in the country with activities ranging across Content Ownership,Aggregation and Distribution. The Shemaroo brand is today synonymous with quality entertainment in the Indian entertainment eco system. Shemaroo is engaged in the distribution of content for satellite channels, physical formats and emerging technologies like the Mobile, Internet, Broadband, IPTV and DTH among others. With its partnership with the major telecom operators in India, Shemaroo is one of the forefront players of the digital age. The company has also tied up with many content providers across the country.
Speaking to Divya Kurup of IIFL, Hiren Gada says, “The whole experience is going to the next level, where you get access to good quality content over a good quality bandwidth delivered on good quality device.”
Explain to us the changes taking place on the digital front. Do you think it can curb piracy to some extent?
On the digital front, at present there are a couple of changes taking place. Firstly, the whole mobile technology has grown to large extent wherein you can deliver rich media applications like videos, music games by extension of high speed data. Mobile penetration is so high in both handset and connections, we have more than 800 million users and it is still growing.
Secondly, the broadband penetration overall is also growing with tri bands and 3G connections.
The third major change is on the devices front with the introduction of Ipads and tablets in the market creating a convenient hand held experience. Digital space is connecting the consumer with front end with content in the back end. Devices are becoming richer in terms of capacities of serving sound, pictures, and pixels. The whole experience is going to the next level, where you get access to good quality content over a good quality bandwidth delivered on good quality device.
Piracy is a menace and very difficult to curb. Some of the players in digital space, like YouTube particularly, have been very proactively taking some strong measures technically within the eco system to ensure that legitimate owner of the content gets fair share of the revenue.
Along with Shemaroo, various other players are coming up to build a legitimate ecosystem, platform, network and distribution that will definitely help in dealing with piracy.
One of the major boons in Digital space is that there is a footprint of all that you do which can be tracked unlike the physical space where there is no proper trace.
How are you dealing with piracy? What is the estimated loss company as yours may incur due to piracy?
Piracy is a worldwide problem and is actuated more in India. Shemaroo has an anti piracy team since many years. Film industry is coming together and fights back but there certain limitations but what the film industry is trying to is for e.g. with multi print release and digital prints you can release a new movie at many theaters with access to reaching smaller towns also which otherwise you would lose revenue due to piracy.
The total industry overview figures estimated by agency is around 15bn to 50bn.
What are the challenges faced on digital front?
Overall ecosystem uptake like changing consumption habit with the purchase of new handsets with 3g or 4g connectivity, infrastructure and content discovery are some of the challenges.
What is your staff strength? Do you have a problem finding quality employees?
We have around 355 employees. Finding quality people is a universal problem but we are blessed with very good set of employees who have served Shemaroo for years in building the firm as a reputed institute in the entertainment industry. As the company scales up, we definitely look out for fresh young talents who will help us in the on going success.
How active are you on the mobile space?
Shemaroo is very active on mobile value added services and has a very strong presence. We have partnered with major mobile operators and have a very cordial relationships with Airtel, Idea, Vodafone .
What would you describe as your USP?
Shemaroo’s USP firstly it’s the brand name itself, a large content library, our distribution presence across all the major mediums particularly electronics and digital whether TV, airlines, DVD, mobile, internet etc. Wherever films are getting consumed, we have our distribution presence. Lastly, our age old experience and depth of knowledge in this field and industry is unmatchable.