Smita Maroo, Head-Animation Business, Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd has done Masters Degrees, MBA in Finance and Masters in Management Information Systems from US as a part of her formal education. However, a childhood passion for films and animation has led her path into the world of cinema. Her visualization and cinema understanding skills have dragged her into the arena of entertainment. She has played a key role in Shemaroo films like ‘Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye’, ‘Omkara’, ‘Manorama 6 Feet Under’, ‘Mere Baap Pehle Aap’ and more. In the animation genre, she has co-directed films like ‘Bal Ganesh’, ‘Ghatothkachh- Master of Magic’, ‘Bal Ganesh-2’ and ‘Super 7’.
Shemaroo Entertainment is among the eminent Filmed Entertainment “Content House” in the country with activities ranging from Content Ownership, Aggregation and Distribution. Shemaroo is engaged in the distribution of content for satellite channels, physical formats and emerging technologies like the Mobile, Internet, Broadband, IPTV and among others. With its partnership with the major telecom operators in India, Shemaroo is one of the forefront players of the digital age.
Speaking with Yash Ved of IIFL, Smita Maroo says, “Whether it is be boom or recession, people want entertainment any time any place and on any device.”
Brief us about the launch of the first online animation movie, ‘Super K’?
Today the kids are smart enough to understand the latest technology and are glued to their computers to either catch up with the latest game or Google something. So releasing our animated film “Super K” online is an idea whose time has come. Our research shows that kids like to watch animation films again and again. By releasing the movie online, we are empowering the viewers by delivering content to them directly to be watched free, anytime, any place on multiple devices many times.
What potential do you see for animation industry in India?
Indian animation industry is a niche market which still needs to be explored. India is a young nation with over 64% of its citizens below the age of 34 years with literacy rate of around 80% amongst the age group of 15-24 years. (Source: IAMAI – 2010). Animation Films form less than 1% of total film business in India. Considering the young population of India the scope growth is tremendous.
Brief us about your agreement with Yahoo! India?
We have tied up exclusively with Yahoo! India for releasing our film “Super K” on the online platform. One can watch Super K on Yahoo Movieplex, in both English and Hindi. Yahoo is promoting the movie across all the different Yahoo properties like its Home page, Messenger, Mail, Movies, Lifestyle and Cricket among others.
What is your marketing and distribution strategy?
Super K is being promoted aggressively through the Internet and social digital media including Facebook and Twitter amongst others as it gives us an interactive platform to engage with our target audience which are predominantly parents and children. This allows us to introduce the various interesting characters of the film and also helps in involving them with the movie through several online contests, games, apps, tweets and blogs among others. Super K has released first on the online platform.
What is your outlook for entertainment industry?
Whether it is be boom time or recession, people want entertainment any time any place and on any device. So the entertainment industry has tremendous potential for growth.
What is Shemaroo’s online strategy?
The concept of releasing the movie online is extremely novel. We are adopting a radically different path for Super K. We hope that audiences will like the movie and this initiative will open up new avenues and vistas for kids, animation film-makers and audiences.
What challenges is the entertainment industry facing today?
The animation industry in India is a niche segment. There are only a handful of animation movies that get released every year. Theatre owners generally give these movies an odd time slots like a 9am show or 10pm show, which are not conducive for parents with school going children.
As a result, children’s movies suffer since low attendance in theatres leads to shows being cancelled. If people don’t support this medium, animation will die a premature death.
In addition, we want to connect and engage with our film viewers at one-to-one level.
Since most parents and children are present on the Internet and today’s children being extremely tech savvy, we decided to release the film online where we would be able to reach millions of animation film lovers.