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September 11, 1997


Pentafour has designs on Bollywood

Pentafour Software and Exports Limited is setting up a multimedia software centre in Bombay which will be operational from October-end.

This is an extension of its present facility near Madras, though not of the same magnitude. "The facility at Bombay will not be an entire duplication of that in Kodambakkam (Madras). The activities involved there would be broadcasting films, advertisement and special effects only. This is a start of our refocus on the Indian market," said V Chandrasekaran, managing director, PSEL.

Pentafour, which has been focusing mainly on the US entertainment market through its Kodambakkam development centre, plans to invest around $2-5 million (of which $1.5 million will go for training) within a year and the centre will cater exclusively to Bombay (in particular, Bollywood).

"The Indian movie, television and advertisement segments hold prospects of around Rs 30 billion per annum. Of this, special effects alone take up about 10 per cent which is Rs 3000 million. So we are looking at that market," said Chandrasekaran.

The focal points for Indian movies are Bombay, Madras and Hyderabad. Pentafour is catering to the special effects and entertainment software requirements of Hyderabad, to a limited extent, through its development centre near Madras. "But people in the Bombay industry find it inconvenient to come here to get trained and also the creative directors would like to be present at the time of such software development. That is why we are setting up the centre at Bombay," he said.

Pentafour's projected turnover for 1997-98 is Rs 2.3 billion, of which it expects that 25 per cent will come from 2D-3D projects (the category under which come all entertainment software). Last year it garnered 16 per cent of the Rs 1.71 billion turnover from this niche segment.

Till now Pentafour has been catering mainly to the US market from where the majority of the 2D-3D project revenues come. The centre at Bombay is the start whereby it will concentrate aggressively on the Indian market. "The awareness in India on special effects has picked up only recently. Pentafour is targeting about Rs 1000 million from Madras, Bombay and Hyderabad in three years," says Chandrasekaran. He expects the Bombay facility to make around Rs 80 million in the first year and about Rs 400 million in three years.

The facility near Madras, also called Silicon Studio, is the fourth such centre in the world, the others located at Los Angeles, London and in Germany. While the others have been totally set up by the California-based Silicon Graphics, the one near Madras has been installed with investment from Pentafour. It has bought around 180 machines from Silicon Graphics which has also provided training course materials. There is no revenue sharing or royalty arrangement with Silicon Graphics.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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