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Home » ‘RRR,’ ‘K.G.F 2,’ Drive South Indian Revenues to $3.5 Billion

‘RRR,’ ‘K.G.F 2,’ Drive South Indian Revenues to $3.5 Billion

The south Indian media and entertainment industry grew 33% in 2022 to record revenues of $3.57 billion in 2022, a new report has revealed.

The report, titled South India: Setting Benchmarks for the Nation in Media & Entertainment, was prepared by Team MCube Insights for the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), southern region, and was released during the recently-concluded Dakshin conference. It covers in detail the region’s key sectors – film, television, streaming/digital, radio and print – across the four language vectors of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam spread across the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and union territory Puducherry.

Film led the way in 2022, growing by a whopping 96% from $486 million in pandemic-affected 2021 to $955 million in 2022. Television grew 19% to record revenues of $155 million in 2022; streaming and digital 20% to $366 million; print 14% to $597 million; and radio 24% to $102 million. Overall, the M&E sector is projected to grow by 17% to reach revenues of $4.1 billion in 2023.

India’s southern region accounts for 20% of the country’s overall population of 1.4 billion, but contributes 31% of GDP. This enhanced contribution is reflected in the numbers across sectors in the report. For example, the report estimates all-India film revenues of $1.8 billion in 2022, of which south India accounts for $955 million, or 52%.

The biggest component is the Tamil-language Tamil Nadu, which had all-time hits in the shape of “Ponniyin Selvan: 1” and “Vikram,” with a market size of $359 million. This is followed by the Telugu-language industry, with a market size of $305 million led by the Oscar-winning blockbuster “RRR”; the Kannada-language industry with $191 million featuring smash hits “K.G.F: Chapter 2” and “Kantara”; and the Malayalam-language industry with $99.4 million led by “Bheeshma Parvam.”

Among the film revenue streams for the four languages combined, the biggest chunk is from local theatrical revenues, which account for $346 million, followed by digital/streaming rights with $224 million and satellite rights with $161 million. Tellingly, at a time when south Indian films are increasingly releasing across the country, dubbing rights for Hindi and other north Indian languages account for a hefty $135 million in revenues. Overseas theatrical and music rights account for the rest.

However, the report strikes a note of caution when it comes to the revenue forecast for 2023. While the Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam-language markets are projected to grow by 15%, 5% and 11% respectively, the Kannada-language market is expected to shrink 47% as potential blockbusters like “K.G.F: Chapter 2” or “Kantara” are not expected this year. Thus a 1% overall shrinkage in forecast for the film market is projected with revenues at $946 million in 2023.

The report records the total number of cinema screens in India as 8,700, of which south India has 4,216 or 48%. Of these, 3,078 are single screens and 1,138 are in multiplexes.

In the streaming space, the report cites numbers from media analyst Ormax and says there is 36% penetration, meaning that there is an audience of 105 million in south India, and this is projected to grow 18% in 2023. The forecast for streaming revenues is $487 million in 2023.

“As outlined in this report, South India’s M&E sector is poised for big growth with four regional language film industries setting new benchmarks for growth,” said producer T.G. Thyagarajan who also serves as chair of the media and entertainment task force for the CII southern region.

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