RadioandMusic
| 26 Aug 2019
Shemaroo entertainment director Hiren Gada - Unremix' albums are old songs packaged a new for Gen Next

Hiren Gada, Director, Shemaroo Entertainment is a management graduate with 13 years of experience in media. He handles several areas like Strategy, Marketing, Finance, Overseas Markets, Operations and Acquisitions for Shemaroo and has been instrumental in putting in place several new initiatives for growth and development of the various businesses that Shemaroo Entertainment is operating in.

Radioandmusic.com's Aaishwari Chouhan engages Gada in a conversation on Shemaroo's plans, with particular emphasis on its music ventures.

Excerpts:

Shemaroo has started the trend of the'unremix.' Is it something new or just old songs repackaged?

Remixing the songs had become very popular, so we thought of re-popularising the old songs by giving them a new format, new version and remix related changes in the music itself.

'Unremix' is basically old music in a brand new packaging, new format and presented for the new generation so that they can connect to the original.


How important are compilations for Shemaroo, since you seem to be releasing compilation albums regularly?

Compilations has always been an integral part for any music company and for Shemaroo, it is an essential part of our business for many years now. Ultimately, music in Bollywood is our mainstay and compilations contribute substantially to our home video business. Compilation releases are relevance-based.

How large is Shemaroo's music library today?

We own the video rights for our films and original clips make good business. We have around 800 films in our library.

Typically, we add around 75 to 100 films every year and rights for around 25 of them expire every year. So our net addition is around 50 to 75.

Quality wise, we have collections from the RK banner, Navketan collections, Mukta Arts, the Sippy banner, Hrishikesh Mukherjee films like Anand, J Om Prakash banner films (late 1960s to 1980s era) and classics like Pakeezah, Mughal-e-Azam etc. For us, quality is the most important aspect.


What plans does Shemaroo have with merchandises and home videos now?

Home video is something we were into since long. But for the first time, we have launched a popular television serial, rather a classic sitcom'Yeh jo hai Zindagi' on home video.

It is very early to talk about the response, but so far people have openly appreciated our efforts to do so. To quote some reliable figures, it will still take us some four to five months.
Our online merchandise sales began with the movie'Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye' when we had the costumes of our artistes and hence, we decided to put them up on our website for sale.
Interestingly, the responses we received were very encouraging. But right now, we have restricted the sale of our merchandises only to our movies. Actually, merchandising is more suited for animated films. Like for our film Bal Ganesha, we had tie-ups with McDonalds, Crosswords etc. to promote the movie through merchandise offerings. We are opting for tie-ups in a big way now.

Shemaroo also sells music online. How well does your online music store work?

The overall trend of digital music sales has been on the rise. It is a medium which is steadily growing. For us, we achieve reasonably good sales through our online store. We receive more sales internationally, as Indians still prefer to go for the physical units than purchase movies and music online.

Shemaroo is also trying innovative marketing tactics in ways of gift packs especially on festive occasions.

Yes. Since the past three to four years, we have had lots of people approaching us for creating gift packs and customised compilations and hence, we have started this. It's been observed that people are tired of giving and receiving sweets and crockery during the festive seasons and hence, coming up with something as innovative as this comes as a blessing to them. Such gift packs connect to people emotionally and branding is also possible with such gift packs. We create gift packs at retail level and for corporate level too.


What are the other marketing tactics that Shemaroo is opting for?

We have a lot of innovative tie-ups. We are working closely with people for productive results. Like for our Cloud 9 release, we had a tie-up with Caf?© Coffee Day and for Alice in Wonderland, we tied up with Planet M and various magazines. Tie-ups are a great form of marketing strategy as it gives people an opportunity to participate and connect with us.

The music of Manorama Six Feet Under and Bal Ganesha haven't really created a stir.


Let me deal with them individually.

Manorama has done well for us. I could see its songs on top charts almost everywhere for five-six weeks. So this is a good response. This was a kind of film with not a very strong star cast, and no reputed music director to back it up.

Looking at all these aspects, the response is really appreciable. We too have learnt a lot from this film.'Wo Bheege Pal' and its remix version is being played almost everywhere today; this points to the popularity of the music.

As for Bal Ganesha, it is an altogether different film aimed at a different audience. This doesn't have disco tracks or lovey-dovey songs. It is a niche within itself, and within that niche - it has done well. When we opted for this film, we realised that its appeal would be different and we should be prepared for it.

In terms of sales, the distributors normally give us figures after two weeks of the release, so its quite early to comment on that. Even Hanuman, for that matter, started doing good business only after two weeks of its release. For such movies, word-of-mouth counts the most.

In totality, Manorama got totally absorbed and consumed and for Bal Ganesha, we need to wait and watch.

What is Shemaroo doing to combat piracy on an individual level?

We have our own anti-piracy team. We have also commissioned three to four teams in India to conduct anti-piracy raids and enforcement activities for us in areas of Punjab, Delhi, Maharashtra and others. We have also been actively pushing the introduction of anti-piracy, copyright into the Goonda Act. Shemaroo chairs the anti-piracy committee of Video Federation of India and we strongly stand for piracy being a non-bailable offence.

How is Shemaroo grounding itself in the regional music genre?

We have our own production on the regional side. We have worked extensively on the Punjabi front by getting the local Punjabi artists and creating more video than audio based music. Apart from that, we haven't entered audio business per se. Bur we did distribute audio for two Punjabi films of which, Mannat did really well. We are more into supplementary work. And presently, we are working more towards Punjabi music in the regional music segment.