Sunday, July 29, 2007

Why should movies be insured?

Most of us think that cinema industry is a non-priority sector. Whoever is producing movies is betting his own money on them and if he loses, that’s alright; it is his loss. If he wins, he wins big and has hit a jackpot. But is such a stance reasonable? I don’t think so. The industry also provides lot of employment opportunities for millions of people all across India. Think of not just the producers of films, but the distributors, the cinema halls and the employees they hire to run the shows. Even think of the poster boys – I mean, the wall poster fixing boys. This industry is one which provides employment across a cross section of our society. In addition to employment, we have to give due place for the artistic and literary talents that it nourishes and thus makes a positive contribution to the society at large.

You would have heard about the calls for giving cinema also an ‘industry status’. What could be the import of such a call? One that I came across today is, making them eligible for insurance. Giving industry status means that Banks are allowed to finance projects in the sector. When a bank finances the production of a film, it looks at the physical assets that are either owned or used during the making of the film and accordingly arrives at the quantum of loan to be sanctioned. Normally banking practices mandate that the assets should be insured properly and thoroughly against theft, fire etc. It is only a matter of time, before the risk coverage gets enlarged to include thinks like artists not turning up for work, making losses in distribution segment etc. How would it sound if it were to be insured for its commercial success? Too far fetched; isn’t it? May be, we will see it in course of time. Are we not seeing insurance covers for rocket launches?

It is in this context that it would be interesting to know that only 30% of the movies produced are insured. This figure is almost 100% abroad.