With the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles kicking off on Tuesday, Hollywood executives will get a peek at output from one of the world’s fastest growing movie markets.
And there’s no denying that since the festival debuted a decade ago, investors from Hollywood and the rest of the U.S. have taken note of opportunities in the Indian entertainment industry.
“It’s not a market that can be overlooked,” said Christina Marouda, founder of the annual festival.
The latest Bollywood movie company seeking U.S. investment is Eros International PLC. The studio’s latest release, secret agent thriller “Agent Vinod,” will screen at the festival Saturday.
In a filing last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Eros disclosed plans to move its listing from the London Stock Exchange to the New York Stock Exchange, hoping to raise $250 million in a U.S. public offering.
Marouda said “Agent Vinod” can trace its history through IFFLA. The director, Sriram Raghavan, gained early acclaim when his second feature, “Johnny Gaddaar,” screened during the festival in 2008.
“Within the Indian film industry in Bombay, a filmmaker will attract attention once his or her film gets to be shown at a festival outside of India,” Marouda said.
She is hoping to foster more connections and future gigs at the festival this year by hosting industry panels featuring Indian filmmakers and other networking events.
Aside from “Agent Vinod,” some two dozen films will be screened this year at locations such as the ArcLight Hollywood over the course of six days.
As for Eros’ plans to woo U.S. investors, Josef Schuster, an analyst who tracks public offerings at IPOX Schuster LLC in Chicago, said the company could get some attention from the Hollywood crowd. The company reported a profit of $47.6 million for fiscal 2011.
“You have some interest from specific investors related to the movie industry,” he said. “Media types may look at this company quite closely.”
Filling Up Web
Now that the Los Angeles Dodgers have a new owner and the Los Angeles Clippers have a playoff-contending team, what’s going to happen to the L.A. startup that sells their unsold seats at a discount?
Peter Sinclair, vice president at ScoreBig, claims he isn’t worried.
“There are far fewer games that are sold out than the common consumer believes,” Sinclair said, estimating that about 40 percent of tickets for domestic live events go unsold.
ScoreBig takes those tickets from venues and teams on consignment and sells them nationwide to consumers who name a discounted price. If the startup’s algorithm deems the bid a good deal, a transaction can take place. ScoreBig takes up to 50 percent of the ticket price, shares revenue with ticket providers and charges no transactional fees.
The startup, which launched in 2010, has received some $24 million in funding from venture capital firms, including Boston’s Bain Capital Ventures. But the company has proceeded slowly, limiting its users while building a client base that ranges from sports franchises to live theaters to musical venues. Now, with the company’s ticket stockpile reaching 1 million seats, Sinclair said it is ending its waiting lists for new users.
The company also is launching a mobile application that features available seats for same-day events. Sinclair said he’s waiting to hear back from Apple Inc. in Cupertino for approval of the mobile app, and he expects to launch it in Los Angeles and San Francisco later in the month. He hopes to then expand to New York and other cities.
The site has thus far relied heavily on referrals from current users, but will soon begin an ad campaign and direct-mail marketing. Sinclair said he’s hoping to reach 1 million users by next year.
Hunger for Tickets
West L.A. online movie ticketing company Fandango said it had its best first quarter financial performance in its 12-year history, as U.S. movie attendance rebounded from last year’s 15-year lows and the company signed up new exhibitor chains.
The company, owned by Philadelphia’s Comcast Corp., has been expanding its reach in Southern California this year, most recently signing a deal with Regency Theaters last month that will add 200 theaters to its offerings in the region.
Fandango said it experienced a 127 percent increase in year-over-year ticket sales for the quarter, fueled in no small part by the fervor surrounding Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s “The Hunger Games.”
The company claimed to sell 22 percent of the movie’s opening-weekend tickets – which comes out to $34 million – and sold up to 60,000 tickets per hour to the movie at peak times.
Staff reporter Jonathan Polakoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 226.
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