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Bollywood-Hollywood Crossover

Monday, 23 Jun 2008 | 4:05 PM ET
Bollywood
Bollywood

The gap between Bollywood and Hollywood is becoming increasingly narrow. Earlier this week I bloggedabout how Steven Spielberg is in talks with Indian Media Giant Reliance ADA group to finance an independent studio. And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to crossover between Hollywood and its sister city many continents away.

American Media Giants are investing in India-- seeing potential in what's the largest youth market in the world. Disney , Viacom , Time Warner , taking different approaches to expand their Indian footprint. Disney building a business of local films while News Corp recently launched MySpace in India. You can see some of this crossover at the movie theater. The actress considered the "queen of Indian film," Aishwarya Rai, has appeared in a handful of western films, and has a number of more prominent roles coming up, including in "Pink Panther 2". And Sylvester Stallone is making a cameo in an upcoming Indian film. The U.

The technology driving filmmaking is where Bollywood and Hollywood are already working close together -- investing in each other, creating a new high tech global infrastructure. If you saw Warner Bros. Oscar-winning "Golden Compass" last year you saw the handiwork of India's high tech capabilities. All of its special effects were produced in Mumbai, studios taking advantage of the lower costs overseas. It goes both ways: India's largest visual effects house -- Prime Focus Group, which is traded on the Bombay exchange recently bought Post Logic, a Hollywood-based post-production house and special effects company Frantic Films.

And then there are the American companies promoting from the growth on both sides. Autodesk, the US graphics software company has been selling internationally for years. Now, the growth of Indian entertainment businesses -- both internally and the jobs outsourced from the U.S. -- benefit Autodesk's revenues.

Hollywood may be sexy, but it's not a fast-growing business-- according to PWC revenue from the U.S. movie business is up just three percent a year over the past three years. In contrast, India's film revenue is up 17 percent every year for the past three. Of course the total size of India's film business is just $2.5 billion, less than a tenth from Hollywood's films, but when it comes to growth Bollywood's winning the Oscar.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.