Sony Pictures Entertainment and Eros International will co-invest in a slate of Hindi films popularly known as Bollywood to be released in India and around the world, it was jointly announced recently by Michael Lynton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sony Pictures, and Kishore Lulla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Eros International.
Under the terms of the non-exclusive agreement, Sony and Eros will jointly develop, produce and acquire multiple films for the new Hindi film slate. Sony Pictures is expected to distribute some of the titles in the United States, and Eros will use its established infrastructure to distribute the films in other international territories. The two companies will work jointly in India.
Commenting on the announcement, Lynton said, "This deal continues Sony Pictures dedication to the region as we embrace and support local talent and invest in films made specifically for audiences in India and the Indian diaspora. As a global company, we are committed to international cinema in India and around the world – we want to satisfy the demand in local markets for high quality original stories told in their original languages. We have a strong track record of film and television production and distribution in India and we're proud Eros International, the leading player within the Indian entertainment arena, will be working with us to find unique and inventive films for Indian audiences and fans of Indian cinema everywhere."
Lulla added, "I am delighted to establish this important relationship between Eros and Sony Pictures, a prominent Hollywood studio with a global brand and reputation of the highest quality. I am excited by the potential benefits to both parties from working together and pleased that Sony chose Eros as its Indian partner. Since our London listing last year, Eros has successfully carried out the first phase of consolidation of the fragmented Indian entertainment sector. We continue to strive to make a humble contribution in shaping the future of Indian entertainment in the years to come"
The deal marks the latest step in Sony Pictures" longstanding commitment to local language film production around the world. In April, Sony Pictures launched its International Motion Picture Production group, under the direction of Gareth Wigan and Deborah Schindler, in recognition of the evolution and significance of the world market for motion pictures.
The new co-financing arrangement also continues the longstanding collaboration between Eros and Sony Pictures. Sony Pictures owns a majority stake in the Sony Entertainment Television channel (SET) in India and Eros has an option to own 24% of the television channels B4U Network. The SET channel and B4U Network created a joint venture company in the U.K, named BEN-SET Limited, in September of 1999, through which SET and B4U jointly market and sell their television channels to DTH subscribers in the UK. SET also licenses films from Eros.
Over the last 12 months, Eros has secured more than 50 projects through a combination of content production, co-production, output deals and talent agreements.