An Australian films on demand startup just cracked the world’s most prolific cinema market

- June 3, 2019 2 MIN READ
Demand.film, the Perth-based on-demand cinema startup currently trying to raise $2 million through crowdfunding, has signed a partnership deal to enter one of the world’s biggest movie markets: India. 

The agreement with Indian-based VKAAO takes Demand into its eighth market and the alliance adds a range of Indian films, from exclusive titles to classics, to the Demand catalogue of documentaries and films such as Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee.

The business offers crowdsourced, single event-screenings in Australia, the US, Canada and UK, using mainstream cinema chains with more than 2500 venues. Anyone can book the film and venue, then crowdsource the audience using social media.

Co-founder and Managing Director David Doepel (pictured above), a former producer and documentary filmmaker, launched the business in 2013 and wants to double the number of countries the business operates in by the end of 2020. 

Demand’s COO, Barbara Connell, who brokered the deal, said the Indian market is worth around US$1.58 billion annually.

“More importantly for us, however, will be the reciprocal access to films and markets” the VKAAO provides, she said.

‘Bollywood’ is the world’s biggest producer of movies, releasing around 1,800 titles a year, while there are more than 20 million cinema admissions in the country annually.

Doepel said partnering with an existing company was different to Demand’s previous expansions but the right fit for India.

“The complexity of the country’s film market coupled with VKAAO’s expertise and their own joint venture with PVR, the largest cinema chain in India, mean a rapid market entry and the right business decision,” he said.

VKAAO is backed by PVR, India’s biggest cinema chain and BookMyShow, India’s biggest entertainment ticketing platform.

The company’s co-founder, Vaibhav Lal, said they share the same approach to film.

“Access to a company that shares the same ethos and business model as us and that has the largest footprint globally will bring significant value to the filmmakers that sign with us,” he said.

“We are also excited to have access to new titles that will work in the Indian marketplace. We have a rich and varied and discerning audience and the stereotype of just Bollywood is not an accurate one.”

Demand.Film is about to release several films in all its territories, including the features Once Again and Lift Boy and documentary such as Plastic Peloton and Natalie Portman’s Eating Animals, based on the bestseller of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer.