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Indian Film Industry: Distribution Sector Short history In the nascent decades of the film industry distributors hardly existed in India. In those days producers dealt directly with exhibitors. The period from 1914 onwards, when World War I disrupted European film production, film companies in the United States attained a very strong position in the world cinema trade. In the same period Hollywood films have established a dominant position in India and succeed to comprehensive takeover of the Indian cinema market. While in 1913 the estimated share of US film imports in India was a mere 3.8 per cent, by 1919 American films constituted 95 per cent of India’s film imports. It was the Universal Film Company that came to dominate the Indian market by the late 1910s. Universal took the lead amongst US film companies by opening their first distribution offices in Bombay in 1916, Calcutta in 1917 and Madras in 1922. From 1917 Universal not only supplied the majority of films screened in India, it also created a loyal following amongst local film audiences for Universal serials and their stars. By the introduction of sound movies, in 1930s, distribution system gradually emerged as an important sector of the film industry. Initially, due to the cost of equipments it concentrated only in a few towns like Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. Combined with a tripling of the Indian population in the years between the two World Wars, the possibility to show films in the regional languages led to the expansion of the distribution sector. After a period with relatively integrated studios prior to WWII, after Indian Independence in 1947, Indian films have been produced, financed, distributed, and exhibited in complex collaboration among hundreds of independent producers each owning a small-scale production company (with one or fewer annual releases), independent distributors (covering different regional territories), private financiers, and stand-alone cinema operators. 1

Distribution and exhibition sectors of indian film industry

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